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Mr. Dashwood introduced Mm.— ?. 219. 









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With the title of Sense and Sensibility is connected one of 
those minor problems which delight the cummin-splitters of 
criticism. In the Cecilia of Madame D'Arblay — the fore- 
runner, if not the model, of Miss Austen — is a sentence 
which at first sight suggests some relationship to the name of 
the book which, in the present series, inaugurated Miss 
Austen's novels. £ The whole of this unfortunate business ' 
— says a certain didactic Dr. Lyster, talking in capitals, to- 
wards the end of volume three of Cecilia — ' has been the 
result of Pride and Prejudice/ and looking to the 
admitted familiarity of Miss Austen with Madame D'Arblay's 
work, it has been concluded that Miss Austen borrowed 
from Cecilia the title of her second novel. But here comes 
in the little problem to which we have referred. Pride and 
Prejudice, it is true, was written and finished before Sense 
and Sensibility — its original title for several years being First 
Impressions. Then, in 1797, the author fell to work upon 
an older essay in letters a la Richardson, called Elinor and 
Marianne, which she re -christened Sense and Sensibility. 
This, as we know, was her first published book ; and what- 
ever may be the connection between the title of Pride and 
Prejudice and the passage in Cecilia, there is an obvious 
connection between the title of Pride and Prejudice and 
the title of Sense and Sensibility. If Miss Austen re- 



christened Elinor and Marianne before she changed the 
title of First Impressions, as she well may have, it is ex- 
tremely unlikely that the name of Pride and Prejudice has 
anything to do with Cecilia (which, besides, had been 
published at least twenty years before). Upon the whole, 
therefore, it is most likely that the passage in Madame 
D'Arblay is a mere coincidence; and that in Sense and Sensi- 
bility ■, as well as in the novel that succeeded it in publication, 
Miss Austen, after the fashion of the old morality plays, 
simply substituted the leading characteristics of her principal 
personages for their names. Indeed, in Sense and Sensibility \ 
the sense of Elinor, and the sensibility (or rather sensiblerie) 
of Marianne, are markedly emphasised in the opening pages 
of the book. But Miss Austen subsequently, and, as we 
think, wisely, discarded in her remaining efforts the cheap 
attraction of an alliterative title. Emma and Persuasion, 
Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park, are names far more 
in consonance with the quiet tone of her easy and unob- 
trusive art. 

Elinor and Marianne was originally written about 1792. 
After the completion — or partial completion, for it was again 
revised in 181 1 — of First Impressions (subsequently Pride 
and Prejudice)^ Miss Austen set about recasting Elinor and 
Marianne, then composed in the form of letters; and she had 
no sooner accomplished this task, than she began Northanger 
Abbey. It would be interesting to know to what extent she 
remodelled Sense and Sensibility in 1797-98, for we are told 
that previous to its publication in 181 1 she again devoted 
a considerable time to its preparation for the press, and it 
is clear that this does not mean the correction of proofs 
alone, but also a preliminary revision of MS. Especially 
would it be interesting if we could ascertain whether any of 
its more finished passages, e.g. the admirable conversation 



between the Miss Dashwoods and Willoughby in chapter 
x., were the result of those fallow and apparently barren 
years at Bath and Southampton, or whether they were 
already part of the second version of 1797-98. But upon 
this matter the records are mute. A careful examina- 
tion of the correspondence published by Lord Brabourne 
in 1884 only reveals two definite references to Sense and 
Sensibility^ and these are absolutely unfruitful in suggestion. 
In April 181 1 she speaks of having corrected two sheets 
of 'S and S,' which she has scarcely a hope of getting out 
in the following June ; and in September, an extract from the 
diary of another member of the family indirectly discloses the 
fact that the book had by that time been published. This 
extract is a brief reference to a letter which had been received 
from Cassandra Austen, begging her correspondent not to 
'mention that Aunt Jane wrote Sense and Sensibility? 
Beyond these minute items of information, and the state- 
ment — already referred to in the Introduction to Pride and 
Prejudice — that she considered herself overpaid for the 
labour she had bestowed upon it, absolutely nothing seems 
to have been preserved by her descendants respecting her 
first printed effort. In the absence of particulars some of 
her critics have fallen to speculate upon the reason which 
made her select it, and not Pride and Prejudice^ for her ddbut; 
and they have, perhaps naturally, found in the fact a fresh 
confirmation of that traditional blindness of authors to their 
own best work, which is one of the commonplaces of literary 
history. But this is to premise that she did regard it as her 
masterpiece, a fact which, apart from this accident of priority 
of issue, is, as far as we are aware, nowhere asserted. A 
simpler solution is probably that, of the three novels she had 
written or sketched by 181 1, Pride and Prejudice was languish- 
ing under the stigma of having been refused by one bookseller 


without the formality of inspection, while Northanger Abbey 
was lying perdu in another bookseller's drawer at Bath. In 
these circumstances it is intelligible that she should turn to 
Sense and Sensibility, when, at length — upon the occasion 
of a visit to her brother in London in the spring of 1811 — 
Mr. T. Egerton of the 'Military Library/ Whitehall, dawned 
upon the horizon as a practicable publisher. 

By the time Sense and Sensibility left the press, Miss Austen 
was again domiciled at Chawton Cottage. For those accus- 
tomed to the swarming reviews of our day, with their Babel 
of notices, it may seem strange that there should be no 
record of the effect produced, seeing that, as already 
stated, the book sold well enough to enable its putter-forth 
to hand over to its author what Mr. Gargery, in Great 
Expectations, would have described as 'a cool ^150.' Surely 
Mr. Egerton, who had visited Miss Austen at Sloane Street, 
must have later conveyed to her some intelligence of the 
way in which her work had been welcomed by the public. 
But if he did, it is no longer discoverable. Mr. Austen 
Leigh, her first and best biographer, could find no account 
either of the publication or of the author's feelings there- 
upon. As far as it is possible to judge, the critical verdicts 
she obtained were mainly derived from her own relatives 
and intimate friends, and some of these latter — if one 
may trust a little anthology which she herself collected, and 
from which Mr. Austen Leigh prints extracts — must have 
been more often exasperating than sympathetic. The long 
chorus of intelligent approval by which she was afterwards 
greeted did not begin to be really audible before her 
death, and her 'fit audience' during her lifetime must 
have been emphatically 'few.' Of two criticisms which 
came out in the Quarterly early in the century, she could 
only have seen one, that of 18 15; the other, by Arch- 


bishop Whately, the first which treated her in earnest, did 
not appear until she had been three years dead. Dr. 
Whately deals mainly with Mansfield Park and Persuasion ; 
his predecessor professed to review Emma> though he also 
gives brief summaries of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and 
Prejudice. Mr. Austen Leigh, we think, speaks too con- 
temptuously of this initial notice of 1 815. If, at certain 
points, it is half-hearted and inadequate, it is still fairly 
accurate in its recognition of Miss Austen's supreme merit, 
as contrasted with her contemporaries — to wit, her skill in 
investing the fortunes of ordinary characters and the narrative 
of common occurrences with all the sustained excitement 
of romance. The Reviewer points out very justly that this 
kind of work, * being deprived of all that, according to 
Bayes, goes " to elevate and surprise," must make amends 
by displaying depth of knowledge and dexterity of execu- 
tion.' And in these qualities, even with such living 
competitors of her own sex as Miss Edgeworth and Miss 
Brunton (whose Self-control came out in the same year as 
Sense and Sensibility)^ he does not scruple to declare that 
'Miss Austen stands almost alone.' If he omits to lay 
stress upon her judgment, her nice sense of fitness, her 
restraint, her fine irony, and the delicacy of her artistic 
touch, something must be allowed for the hesitations and 
reservations which invariably beset the critical pioneer. 

To contend, however, for a moment that the present 
volume is Miss Austen's greatest, as it was her first published, 
novel, would be a mere exercise in paradox. There are, 
who swear by Persuasion ; there are, who prefer Emma and 
Mansfield Park ; there is a large contingent for Pride and 
Prejudice ; and there is even a section which advocates the 
pre-eminence of Northanger Abbey. But no one, as far as 
we can remember, has ever put Sense and Sensibility first, 



nor can we believe that its author did so herself. And yet it 
is she herself who has furnished the standard by which we 
judge it, and it is by comparison with Pride and Prejudice, in 
which the leading characters are also two sisters, that we assess 
and depress its merit. The Elinor and Marianne of Sense 
and Sensibility are only inferior when they are contrasted 
with the Elizabeth and Jane of Pride and Prejudice ; and 
even then, it is probably because we personally like the 
handsome and amiable Jane Bennet rather better than the 
obsolete survival of the sentimental novel represented by 
Marianne Dashwood. Darcy and Bingley again are much 
more ( likeable ' (to use Lady Queensberry's word) than the 
colourless Edward Ferrars and the stiff-jointed Colonel 
Brandon. Yet it might not unfairly be contended that 
there is more fidelity to what Mr. Thomas Hardy has termed 
c life's little ironies ' in Miss Austen's disposal of the two Miss 
Dashwoods than there is in her disposal of the heroines of 
Pride and Prejudice. Every one does not get a Bingley, or 
a Darcy (with a park) ; but a good many sensible girls like 
Elinor pair off contentedly with poor creatures like Edward 
Ferrars, while not a few enthusiasts like Marianne decline at 
last upon middle-aged colonels with flannel waistcoats. 
George Eliot, we fancy, would have held that the fates of 
Elinor and Marianne were more probable than the fortunes 
of Jane and Eliza Bennet. That, of the remaining characters, 
there is certainly none to rival Mr. Bennet, or Lady Catherine 
de Bourgh, or the ineffable Mr. Collins, of Pride and Prejudice, 
is true; but we confess to a kindness for vulgar match- 
making Mrs. Jennings with her still-room c parmaceti for an 
inward bruise ' in the shape of a glass of old Constantia ; 
and for the diluted Squire Western, Sir John Middleton, 
whose horror of being alone carries him to the point of rejoic- 
ing in the acquisition of two to the population of London. 



Excellent again are Mr. Palmer and his wife ; excellent, in 
their sordid veracity, the self-seeking figures of the Miss 
Steeles. But the pearls of the book must be allowed to be 
that egregious amateur in toothpick-cases, Mr. Robert Ferrars 
(with his excursus in chapter xxxvi. on life in a cottage), and 
the admirably-matched Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood. Miss 
Austen herself has never done anything better than the in- 
imitable and oft-quoted chapter wherein is debated between 
the last-named pair the momentous matter of the amount to 
be devoted to Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters ; while the 
suggestion in chapters xxxiii. and xxxiv. that the owner of 
Norland was once within some thousands of having to sell out 
at a loss, deserves to be remembered with that other memor- 
able escape of Sir Roger de Coverley's ancestor, who was 
only not killed in the civil wars because c he was sent out 
of the field upon a private message, the day before the battle 
of Worcester. ' 

Of local colouring there is as little in Sense and Sensibility 
as in Pride and Prejudice. It is not unlikely that some 
memories of Steventon may survive in Norland ; and it may 
be noted that there is actually a Barton Place to the north 
of Exeter, not far from Lord Iddesleigh's well-known seat 
of Upton Pynes. It is scarcely possible, also, not to believe 
that, in Mrs. Jennings's description of Delaford — *a nice place, 
I can tell you ; exactly what I call a nice old-fashioned place, 
full of comforts and conveniences ; quite shut in with great 
garden walls that are covered with the best fruit-trees in the 
country ; and such a mulberry tree in one corner ! ' — Miss 
Austen had in mind some real Hampshire or Devonshire 
country house. In any case, it comes nearer a picture than 
what we usually get from her pen. ' Then there is a dovecote, 
some delightful stewponds, and a very pretty canal ; and 
everything, in short, that one could wish for ; and, moreover, 



it is close to the church, and only a quarter of a mile from 
the turnpike-road, so 'tis never dull, for if you only go and sit 
up in an old yew arbour behind the house, you may see all 
the carriages that pass along.' The last lines suggest those 
quaint * gazebos' and alcoves, which, in the coaching 
days, were so often to be found perched at the roadside, 
where one might sit and watch the Dover or Canter- 
bury stage go whirling by. Of genteel accomplishments 
there is a touch in the * landscape in coloured silks ' which 
Charlotte Palmer had worked at school (chap, xxvi.) ; and 
of old remedies for the lost art of swooning, in the 
* lavender drops ' of chapter xxix. The mention of a dance 
as a * little hop ' in chapter ix. reads like a premature in- 
stance of middle Victorian slang. But nothing is new 

even in a novel— and 'hop,' in this sense, is at least as old 
as Joseph Andrews, 



Mr. Dashwood introduced him . . Frontispiece 

His son's son, a child of four years old . . .3 

' I cannot imagine how they will spend half of it ' . . 11 

So shy before company . . . . .26 

They sang together . . . . . .42 

He cut off a long lock of her hair . . . 52 

* I have found you out in spite of all your tricks ' • 59 
Apparently in violent affliction . . . .66 

Begging her to stop . . . . . .76 

Came to take a survey of the guest . . . S? 

* I declare they are quite charming ' . . • 95 
Mischievous tricks . . . . . .106 

Drinking to her best affections . . . . .111 

Amiably bashful . . . . . 1 1 5 

* I can answer for it,' said Mrs. Jennings . . .129 
At that moment she first perceived him . . .152 

* How fond he was of it ! ' . . . . 171 

Offered him one of Folly's puppies . . . .186 

A very smart beau ...... 190 

Introduced to Mrs. Jennings . . . . 193 

Mrs. Jennings assured him directly that she should not stand 

upon ceremony . . . . , 195 


Mrs. Ferrars . 

Drawing him a little aside 

In a whisper . 

* You have heard, I suppose ' 
Talking over the business 

* She put in the feather last night ' 
Listening at the door . 
Both gained considerable amusement 

* Of one thing I may assure you ' 
Showing her child to the housekeeper 
The gardener's lamentations 
Opened a window-shutter 
1 1 entreat you to stay ' 

* I was formally dismissed ' 

* I have entered many a shop to avoid your sight ' 
f And see how the children go on ' 
' I suppose you know, ma'am, that Mr. Ferrars is married ' 
It was Edward 
' Everything in such respectable condition ' 









The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex. 
Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland 
Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many genera- 
tions, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage 
the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance. 
The late owner of this estate was a single man, who lived to a 
very advanced age, and who, for many years of his life, had a 
constant companion and housekeeper in his sister. But her 
death, which happened ten years before his own, produced a 
great alteration in his home ; for to supply her loss he invited 
and received into his house the family of his nephew Mr. 
Henry Dashwood, the legal inheritor of the Norland estate, 
and the person to whom he intended to bequeath it. In the 
society of his nephew and niece, and their children, the old 
gentleman's days were comfortably spent. His attachment to 
them all increased. The constant attention of Mr. and Mrs. 
Henry Dashwood to his wishes, which proceeded not merely 
from interest, but from goodness of heart, gave him every 
degree of solid comfort which his age could receive ; and the 
cheerfulness of the children added a relish to his existence. 

By a former marriage, Mr. Henry Dashwood had one son : 
by his present lady three daughters. The son, a steady re- 
spectable young man, was amply provided for by the fortune 
of his mother, which had been large, and half of which de- 
volved on him on his coming of age. By his own marriage, 
likewise, which happened soon afterwards, he added to his 
wealth. To him, therefore, the succession to the Norland 
estate was not so really important as to his sisters ; for their 
fortune, independent of what might arise to them from their 
father's inheriting that property, could be but small. Their 
mother had nothing, and their father only seven thousand 
B i §S 


pounds in his own disposal ; for the remaining moiety of his 
•first wife's fortune was also secured to her child, and he had 
only a life-interest in it. 

The old gentleman died: his will was read; and, like 
almost every other will, gave as much disappointment as 
pleasure. He was neither so unjust, nor so ungrateful, as to 
leave his estate from his nephew ; but he left it to him on 
such terms as destroyed half the value of the bequest. Mr. 
Dashwood had wished for it more for the sake of his wife and 
daughters than for himself or his son : but to his son, and his 
son's son, a child of four years old, it was secured, in such a 
way as to leave to himself no power of providing for those who 
were most dear to him, and who most needed a provision, by 
any charge on the estate, or by any sale of its valuable woods. 
The whole was tied up for the benefit of this child, who, in 
occasional visits with his father and mother at Norland, had so 
far gained on the affections of his uncle, by such attractions as 
are by no means unusual in children of two or three years old 
—an imperfect articulation, an earnest desire of having his 
own way, many cunning tricks, and a great deal of noise— as 
to outweigh all the value of all the attention which, for years, 
he had received from his niece and her daughters. He meant 
not to be unkind, however, and, as a mark of his affection for 
the three girls, he left them a thousand pounds apiece. 

Mr. Dashwood's disappointment was, at first, severe ; but 
his temper was cheerful and sanguine ; and he might reason- 
ably hope to live many years, and, by living economically, lay 
by a considerable sum from the produce of an estate already 
large, and capable of almost immediate improvement. But 
the fortune, which had been so tardy in coming, was his only 
one twelvemonth. He survived his uncle no longer ; and ten 
thousand pounds, including the late legacies, was all that re- 
mained for his widow and daughters. 

His son was sent for as soon as his danger was known, and 
to him Mr. Dashwood recommended, with all the strength and 
urgency which illness could command, the interest of his 
mother-in-law and sisters. 

Mr. John Dashwood had not the strong feelings of the rest 
of the family ; but he was affected by a recommendation of 
such a nature at such a time, and he promised to do every- 
thing in his power to make them comfortable. His father was 

His son's son, a child of four years old. 


rendered easy by such an assurance, and Mr. John Dashwood 
had then leisure to consider how much there might prudently 
be in his power to do for them. 

He was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather 
cold-hearted and rather selfish is to be ill-disposed ; but he 
was, in general, well respected, for he conducted himself with 
propriety in the discharge of his ordinary duties. Had he 
married a more amiable woman, he might have been made 
still more respectable than he was ; he might even have been 
made amiable himself, for he was very young when he married, 
and very fond of his wife. But Mrs. John Dashwood was a 
strong caricature of himself ; more narrow-minded and selfish. 

When he gave his promise to his father, he meditated 
within himself to increase the fortunes of his sisters by the 
present of a thousand pounds apiece. He then really thought 
himself equal to it. The prospect of four thousand a year, in 
addition to his present income, besides the remaining half of 
his own mother's fortune, warmed his heart, and made him 
feel capable of generosity. <Yes, he would give them three 
thousand pounds ; it would be liberal and handsome ! It 
would be enough to make them completely easy. Three 
thousand pounds ! he could spare so considerable a sum with 
little inconvenience.' He thought of it all day long and for 
many days successively, and he did not repent. 

No sooner was his father's funeral over than Mrs. John 
Dashwood, without sending any notice of her intention to 
her mother-in-law, arrived with her child and their attendants. 
No one could dispute her right to come ; the house was her 
husband's from the moment of his father's decease ; but the 
indelicacy of her conduct was so much the greater, and to 
a woman in Mrs. Dashwood's situation, with only common 
feelings, must have been highly unpleasing. But in her mind 
there was a sense of honour so keen, a generosity so romantic, 
that any offence of the kind, by whomsoever given or received, 
was to her a source of immovable disgust. Mrs. John Dash- 
wood had never been a favourite with any of her husband's 
family ; but she had had no opportunity, till the present, of 
showing them with how little attention to the comfort of other 
people she could act when occasion required it. 

So acutely did Mrs. Dashwood feel this ungracious be- 
haviour, and so earnestly did she despise her daughter-in-law 



for it, that, on the arrival of the latter, she would have quitted 
the house for ever, had not the entreaty of her eldest girl 
induced her first to reflect on the propriety of going, and her 
own tender love for all her three children determined her 
afterwards to stay, and for their sakes avoid a breach with 
their brother. 

Elinor, this eldest daughter whose advice was so effectual, 
possessed a strength of understanding and coolness of judg- 
ment which qualified her, though only nineteen, to be the 
counsellor of her mother, and enabled her frequently to 
counteract, to the advantage of them all, that eagerness of 
mind in Mrs. Dashwood which must generally have led to 
imprudence. She had an excellent heart ; her disposition was 
affectionate, and her feelings were strong, but she knew how 
to govern them ; it was a knowledge which her mother had 
yet to learn, and which one of her sisters had resolved never 
to be taught. 

Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to 
Elinor's. She was sensible and clever, but eager in every- 
thing : her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She 
was generous, amiable, interesting ; she was everything but 
prudent. The resemblance between her and her mother was 
strikingly great. 

Elinor saw, with concern, the excess of her sister's sensi- 
bility ; but by Mrs. Dashwood it was valued and cherished. 
They encouraged each other now in the violence of their afflic- 
tion. The agony of grief which overpowered them at first was 
voluntarily renewed, was sought for, was created again and 
again. They gave themselves up wholly to their sorrow, 
seeking increase of wretchedness in every reflection that could 
afford it, and resolved against ever admitting consolation in 
future. Elinor, too, was deeply afflicted ; but still she could 
struggle, she could exert herself. She could consult with her 
brother, could receive her sister-in-law on her arrival, and treat 
her with proper attention ; and could strive to rouse her mother 
to similar exertion, and encourage her to similar forbearance. 

Margaret, the other sister, was a good-humoured, well- 
disposed girl ; but as she had already imbibed a good deal of 
Marianne's romance, without having much of her sense, she 
did not, at thirteen, bid fair to equal her sisters at a more 
advanced period of life. 




Mrs. John Dashwood now installed herself mistress of 
Norland ; and her mother and sisters-in-law were degraded to 
the condition of visitors. As such, however, they were treated 
by her with quiet civility ; and by her husband with as much 
kindness as he could feel towards anybody beyond himself, his 
wife, and their child. He really pressed them, with some 
earnestness, to consider Norland as their home ; and, as no 
plan appeared so eligible to Mrs. Dashwood as remaining 
there till she could accommodate herself with a house in the 
neighbourhood, his invitation was accepted. 

A continuance in a place where everything reminded her of 
former delight was exactly what suited her mind. In seasons 
of cheerfulness, no temper could be more cheerful than hers, 
or possess, in a greater degree, that sanguine expectation of 
happiness which is happiness itself. But in sorrow she must 
be equally carried away by her fancy, and as far beyond 
consolation as in pleasure she was beyond alloy. 

Mrs. John Dashwood did not at all approve of what her 
husband intended to do for his sisters. To take three thousand 
pounds from the fortune of their dear little boy would be 
impoverishing him to the most dreadful degree. She begged 
him to think again on the subject. How could he answer it 
to himself to rob his child, and his only child too, of so large 
a sum ? And what possible claim could the Miss Dashwoods, 
who were related to him only by half blood, which she 
considered as no relationship at all, have on his generosity to 
so large an amount ? It was very well known that no affection 
was ever supposed to exist between the children of any man 
by different marriages ; and why was he to ruin himself, and 
their poor little Harry, by giving away all his money to his 
half-sisters ? 

' It was my father's last request to me,' replied her husband, 
' that I should assist his widow and daughters.' 

1 He did not know what he was talking of, I daresay ; ten 
to one but he was light-headed at the time. Had he been in his 
right senses, he could not have thought of such a thing as 



begging you to give away half your fortune from your own 

' He did not stipulate for any particular sum, my dear 
Fanny; he only requested me, in general terms, to assist 
them, and make their situation more comfortable than it was 
in his power to do. Perhaps it would have been as well if he 
had left it wholly to myself. He could hardly suppose I should 
neglect them. But as he required the promise, I could not 
do less than give it : at least I thought so at the time. The 
promise, therefore, was given, and must be performed. Some- 
thing must be done for them whenever they leave Norland and 
settle in a new home.' 

* Well, then, let something be done for them ; but that 
something need not be three thousand pounds. Consider,' 
she added, * that when the money is once parted with, it 
never can return. Your sisters will marry, and it will be gone 
for ever. If, indeed, it could ever be restored to our poor 
little boy ' 

'Why, to be sure,' said her husband, very gravely, 'that 
would make a great difference. The time may come when 
Harry will regret that so large a sum was parted with. If he 
should have a numerous family, for instance, it would be a very 
convenient addition.' 

* To be sure it would.' 

* Perhaps, then, it would be better for all parties if the sum 
were diminished one-half. Five hundred pounds would be a 
prodigious increase to their fortunes ! ' 

' Oh ! beyond anything great ! What brother on earth 
would do half so much for his sisters, even if really his sisters ! 
And as it is — only half blood ! But you have such a generous 
spirit ! ' 

* I would not wish to do anything mean,' he replied. ' One 
had rather, on such occasions, do too much than too little. 
No one, at least, can think I have not done enough for them : 
even themselves, they can hardly expect more.' 

* There is no knowing what they may expect,' said the lady ; 
' but we are not to think of their expectations : the question is, 
what you can afford to do.' 

1 Certainly ; and I think I may afford to give them five 
hundred pounds apiece. As it is, without any addition of 
mine, they will each have above three thousand pounds on 



their mother's death — a very comfortable fortune for any young 

* To be sure it is ; and, indeed, it strikes me that they can 
want no addition at all. They will have ten thousand pounds 
divided amongst them. If they marry, they will be sure of 
doing well, and if they do not, they may all live very comfort- 
ably together on the interest of ten thousand pounds.' 

* That is very true, and therefore, I do not know whether, 
upon the whole, it would not be more advisable to do some- 
thing for their mother while she lives, rather than for them — 
something of the annuity kind I mean. My sisters would feel 
the good effects of it as well as herself. A hundred a year 
would make them all perfectly comfortable.' 

His wife hesitated a little, however, in giving her consent 
to this plan. 

' To be sure,' said she, * it is better than parting with fifteen 
hundred pounds at once. But then, if Mrs. Dashwood should 
live fifteen years, we shall be completely taken in.' 

* Fifteen years ! my dear Fanny ; her life cannot be worth 
half that purchase.' 

* Certainly not ; but if you observe, people always live for 
ever when there is any annuity to be paid them ; and she is 
very stout and healthy, and hardly forty. An annuity is a 
very serious business ; it comes over and over every year, and 
there is no getting rid of it. You are not aware of what 
you are doing. I have known a great deal of the trouble of 
annuities ; for my mother was clogged with the payment of 
three to old superannuated servants by my father's will, and 
it is amazing how disagreeable she found it. Twice every 
year these annuities were to be paid ; and then there was the 
trouble of getting it to them ; and then one of them was said 
to have died, and afterwards it turned out to be no such thing. 
My mother was quite sick of it. Her income was not her 
own, she said, with such perpetual claims on it ; and it was 
the more unkind in my father, because, otherwise, the money 
would have been entirely at my mother's disposal, without any 
restriction whatever. It has given me such an abhorrence of 
annuities, that I am sure I would not pin myself down to the 
payment of one for all the world.' 

c It is certainly an unpleasant thing,' replied Mr. Dashwood, 
' to have those kind of yearly drains on one's income. One's 


fortune, as your mother justly says, is not one's own. To be 
tied down to the regular payment of such a sum, on every 
rent-day, is by no means desirable : it takes away one's 

' Undoubtedly ; and, after all, you have no thanks for it. 
They think themselves secure ; you do no more than what is 
expected, and it raises no gratitude at all. If I were you, 
whatever I did should be done at my own discretion entirely. 
I would not bind myself to allow them anything yearly. It 
may be very inconvenient some years to spare a hundred, or 
even fifty pounds, from our own expenses.' 

' I believe you are right, my love ; it will be better that 
there should be no annuity in the case : whatever I may give 
them occasionally will be of far greater assistance than a yearly 
allowance, because they would only enlarge their style of living 
if they felt sure of a larger income, and would not be 
sixpence the richer for it at the end of the year. It will 
certainly be much the best way. A present of fifty pounds 
now and then will prevent their ever being distressed for 
money, and will, I think, be amply discharging my promise to 
my father.' 

' To be sure it will. Indeed, to say the truth, I am con- 
vinced within myself that your father had no idea of your giving 
them any money at all. The assistance he thought of, I 
daresay, was only such as might be reasonably expected of 
you ; for instance, such as looking out for a comfortable small 
house for them, helping them to move their things, and sending 
them presents of fish and game, and so forth, whenever they 
are in season. I'll lay my life that he meant nothing further ; 
indeed, it would be very strange and unreasonable if he did. 
Do but consider, my dear Mr. Dashwood, how excessively 
comfortable your mother-in-law and her daughters may live on 
the interest of seven thousand pounds, besides the thousand 
pounds belonging to each of the girls, which brings them in fifty 
pounds a year apiece, and of course they will pay their mother 
for their board out of it. Altogether, they will have five 
hundred a year amongst them ; and what on earth can four 
women want for more than that ?— They will live so cheap ! 
Their housekeeping will be nothing at all. They will have no 
carriage, no horses, and hardly any servants ; they will keep 
no company, and can have no expenses of any kind ! Only 


conceive how comfortable they will be ! Five hundred a year ! 
I am sure I cannot imagine how they will spend half of it ; 
and as to your giving them more, it is quite absurd to think of 
it. They will be much more able to give you something/ 

' Upon my word,' said Mr. Dashwood, ' I believe you are 
perfectly right. My father certainly could mean nothing more 
by his request to me than what you say. I clearly understand 
it now, and I will strictly fulfil my engagement by such acts of 
assistance and kindness to them as you have described. When 
my mother removes into another house my services shall be 
readily given to accommodate her as far as I can. Some little 
present of furniture, too, may be acceptable then.' 

4 Certainly/ returned Mrs. John Dashwood. ' But, how- 
ever, one thing must be considered. When your father and 
mother moved to Norland, though the furniture of Stanhill 
was sold, all the china, plate, and linen was saved, and is now 
left to your mother. Her house will therefore be almost com- 
pletely fitted up as soon as she takes it.' 

* That is a material consideration undoubtedly. A valuable 
legacy indeed ! And yet some of the plate would have been a 
very pleasant addition to our own stock here.' 

* Yes ; and the set of breakfast-china is twice as handsome 
as what belongs to this house ; a great deal too handsome, in 
my opinion, for any place they can ever afford to live in. But, 
however, so it is. Your father thought only of them. And I 
must say this, that you owe no particular gratitude to him, nor 
attention to his wishes ; for we very well know that if he could 
he would have left almost everything in the world to them* 

This argument was irresistible. It gave to his intentions 
whatever of decision was wanting before ; and he finally 
resolved that it would be absolutely unnecessary, if not highly 
indecorous, to do more for the widow and children of his 
father than such kind of neighbourly acts as his own wife 
pointed out. 


Mrs. Dashwood remained at Norland several months, not 
from any disinclination to move when the sight of every well- 
known spot ceased to raise the violent emotion which it pro- 

/ cannot imagine how they will spend half of it? 


duced for a while, for when her spirits began to revive and 
her mind became capable of some other exertion than that of 
heightening its affliction by melancholy remembrances, she 
was impatient to be gone, and indefatigable in her inquiries 
for a suitable dwelling in the neighbourhood of Norland, for to 
remove far from that beloved spot was impossible ; but she 
could hear of no situation that at once answered her notions of 
comfort and ease, and suited the prudence of her eldest 
daughter, whose steadier judgment rejected several houses, 
as too large for their income, which her mother would have 

Mrs. Dashwood had been informed by her husband of the 
solemn promise on the part of his son in their favour, which 
gave comfort to his last earthly reflections. She doubted the 
sincerity of this assurance no more than he had doubted it 
himself, and she thought of it for her daughters' sake with 
satisfaction, though as for herself she was persuaded that a 
much smaller provision than seven thousand pounds would 
support her in affluence. For their brother's sake, too, for the 
sake of his own heart, she rejoiced ; and she reproached her- 
self for being unjust to his merit before, in believing him 
incapable of generosity. His attentive behaviour to herself 
and his sisters convinced her that their welfare was dear to 
him, and, for a long time, she firmly relied on the liberality of 
his intentions. 

The contempt which she had, very early in their acquaint- 
ance, felt for her daughter-in-law was very much increased by 
the further knowledge of her character which half- a -year's 
residence in her family afforded ; and, perhaps, in spite of 
every consideration of politeness or maternal affection on the 
side of the former, the two ladies might have found it im- 
possible to have lived together so long, had not a particular 
circumstance occurred to give still greater eligibility, according 
to the opinions of Mrs. Dashwood, to her daughters' con- 
tinuance at Norland. 

This circumstance was a growing attachment between her 
eldest girl and the brother of Mrs. John Dashwood, a gentle- 
manlike and pleasing young man, who was introduced to 
their acquaintance soon after his sister's establishment at 
Norland, and who had since spent the greatest part of his 
time there. 


Some mothers might have encouraged the intimacy from 
motives of interest, for Edward Ferrars was the eldest son of a 
man who had died very rich ; and some might have repressed 
it from motives of prudence, for, except a trifling sum, the 
whole of his fortune depended on the will of his mother. But 
Mrs. Dashwood was alike uninfluenced by either consideration ; 
it was enough for her that he appeared to be amiable, that he 
loved her daughter, and that Elinor returned the partiality. It 
was contrary to every doctrine of hers that difference of fortune 
should keep any couple asunder who were attracted by re- 
semblance of disposition ; and that Elinor's merit should not 
be acknowledged by every one who knew her was to her com- 
prehension impossible. 

Edward Ferrars was not recommended to their good 
opinion by any peculiar graces of person or address. He was 
not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make 
them pleasing. He was too diffident to do justice to himself; 
but when his natural shyness was overcome, his behaviour 
gave every indication of an open, affectionate heart. His 
understanding was good, and his education had given it solid 
improvement. But he was neither fitted by abilities nor dis- 
position to answer the wishes of his mother and sister, who 
longed to see him distinguished as — they hardly knew what. 
They wanted him to make a fine figure in the world in some 
manner or other. His mother wished to interest him in 
political concerns, to get him into Parliament, or to see him 
connected with some of the great men of the day. Mrs. John 
Dashwood wished it likewise ; but in the meanwhile, till one 
of these superior blessings could be attained, it would have 
quieted her ambition to see him driving a barouche. But 
Edward had no turn for great men or barouches. All his 
wishes centred in domestic comfort and the quiet of private 
life. Fortunately, he had a younger brother who was more 

Edward had been staying several weeks in the house before 
he engaged much of Mrs. Dashwood's attention ; for she was, 
at that time, in such affliction as rendered her careless of 
surrounding objects. She saw only that he was quiet and 
unobtrusive, and she liked him for it. He did not disturb the 
wretchedness of her mind by ill-timed conversation. She was 
first called to observe and approve him further by a reflection 



which Elinor chanced one day to make on the difference 
between him and his sister. It was a contrast which recom- 
mended him most forcibly to her mother. 

4 It is enough,' said she ; ' to say that he is unlike Fanny 
is enough. It implies everything amiable. I love him 

{ I think you will like him,' said Elinor, * when you know 
more of him.' 

* Like him ! ' replied her mother with a smile. * I can feel 
no sentiment of approbation inferior to love.' 

* You may esteem him.' 

( I have never yet known what it was to separate esteem 
and love.' 

Mrs. Dashwood now took pains to get acquainted with 
him. Her manners were attaching, and soon banished his 
reserve. She speedily comprehended all his merits ; the per- 
suasion of his regard for Elinor perhaps assisted her pene- 
tration ; but she really felt assured of his worth, and even that 
quietness of manner, which militated against all her established 
ideas of what a young man's address ought to be, was no 
longer uninteresting when she knew his heart to be warm and 
his temper affectionate. 

No sooner did she perceive any symptom of love in his be- 
haviour to Elinor than she considered their serious attachment 
as certain, and looked forward to their marriage as rapidly 

* In a few months, my dear Marianne,' said she, * Elinor 
will, in all probability, be settled for life. We shall miss her, 
but she will be happy.' 

' Oh, mamma, how shall we do without her ? ' 

* My love, it will be scarcely a separation ; we shall live 
within a few miles of each other, and shall meet every day of 
our lives ; you will gain a brother — a real, affectionate brother. 
I have the highest opinion in the world of Edward's heart. 
But you look grave, Marianne ; do you disapprove your sister's 
choice ? ' 

' Perhaps,' said Marianne, * I may consider it with some 
surprise. Edward is very amiable, and I love him tenderly. 
But yet — he is not the kind of young man ; there is a something 
wanting — his figure is not striking ; it has none of that grace 
which I should expect in the man who could seriously attach 



my sister. His eyes want all that spirit, that fire, which at 
once announce virtue and intelligence. And besides all this, 
I am afraid, mamma, he has no real taste. Music seems 
scarcely to attract him ; and, though he admires Elinor's 
drawings very much, it is not the admiration of a person who 
can understand their worth. It is evident, in spite of his 
frequent attention to her while she draws, that, in fact, he 
knows nothing of the matter. He admires as a lover, not as 
a connoisseur. To satisfy me, those characters must be 
united. I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not 
in every point coincide with my own. He must enter into 
all my feelings ; the same books, the same music, must charm 
us both. Oh, mamma, how spiritless, how tame, was Edward's 
manner in reading to us last night ! I felt for my sister most 
severely. Yet she bore it with so much composure,, she 
seemed scarcely to notice it. I could hardly keep my seat. 
To hear those beautiful lines, which have frequently almost 
driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, 
such dreadful indifference ! J 

' He would certainly have done more justice to simple and 
elegant prose. I thought so at the time ; but you would give 
him Cowper.' 

' Nay, mamma, if he is not to be animated by Cowper ! — 
but we must allow for difference of taste. Elinor has not my 
feelings, and, therefore, she may overlook it and be happy 
with him. But it would have broken my heart, had I loved 
him, to hear him read with so little sensibility. Mamma, the 
more I know of the world the more am I convinced that I 
shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so 
much ! He must have all Edward's virtues, and his person 
and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible 

1 Remember, my love, that you are not seventeen. It is 
yet too early in life to despair of such happiness. Why should 
you be less fortunate than your mother ? In one circumstance 
only, my Marianne, may your destiny be different from hers ! ' 




'What a pity it is, Elinor/ said Marianne, 'that Edward 
should have no taste for drawing.' 

' No taste for drawing ! ' replied Elinor, c why should you 
think so ? He does not draw himself, indeed, but he has 
great pleasure in seeing the performances of other people ; 
and I assure you he is by no means deficient in natural taste, 
though he has not had opportunities of improving it. Had he 
ever been in the way of learning, I think he would have 
drawn very well. He distrusts his own judgment in such 
matters so much, that he is always unwilling to give his 
opinion on any picture ; but he has an innate propriety and 
simplicity of taste, which, in general, direct him perfectly 

Marianne was afraid of offending, and said no more on the 
subject ; but the kind of approbation which Elinor described 
as excited in him by the drawings of other people was very far 
from that rapturous delight which, in her opinion, could alone 
be called taste. Yet, though smiling within herself at the 
mistake, she honoured her sister for that blind partiality to 
Edward which produced it. 

c I hope, Marianne,' continued Elinor, * you do not consider 
him as deficient in general taste. Indeed, I think I may say 
that you cannot, for your behaviour to him is perfectly cordial, 
and if that were your opinion, I am sure you could never be 
civil to him.' 

Marianne hardly knew what to say. She would not wound 
the feelings of her sister on any account, and yet to say what 
she did not believe was impossible. At length she replied — 

' Do not be offended, Elinor, if my praise of him is not in 
everything equal to your sense of his merits. I have not had 
so many opportunities of estimating the minuter propensities 
of his mind, his inclinations and tastes, as you have ; but I 
have the highest opinion in the world of his goodness and 
sense. I think him everything that is worthy and amiable.' 

' I am sure,' replied Elinor, with a smile, c that his dearest 
friends could not be dissatisfied with such commendation as 



that. I do not perceive how you could express yourself more 
warmly. ' 

Marianne was rejoiced to find her sister so easily pleased. 

i Of his sense and his goodness,' continued Elinor, £ no one 
can, I think, be in doubt, who has seen him often enough to 
engage him in unreserved conversation. The excellence of 
his understanding and his principles can be concealed only 
by that shyness which too often keeps him silent. You know 
enough of him to do justice to his solid worth. But of his 
minuter propensities, as you call them, you have, from peculiar 
circumstances, been kept more ignorant than myself. He and 
I have been at times thrown a good deal together, while you 
have been wholly engrossed on the most affectionate principle 
by my mother. I have seen a great deal of him, have studied 
his sentiments, and heard his opinion on subjects of literature 
and taste ; and, upon the whole, I venture to pronounce that 
his mind is well informed, his enjoyment of books exceedingly 
great, his imagination lively, his observations just and correct, 
and his taste delicate and pure. His abilities in every respect 
improve as much upon acquaintance as his manners and 
person. At first sight, his address is certainly not striking ; 
and his person can hardly be called handsome, till the ex- 
pression of his eyes, which are uncommonly good, and the 
general sweetness of his countenance, is perceived. At 
present, I know him so well, that I think him really handsome ; 
or, at least, almost so. What say you, Marianne ? ' 

* I shall very soon think him handsome, Elinor, if I do not 
now. When you tell me to love him as a brother, I shall no 
more see imperfection in his face than I now do in his heart. 5 

Elinor started at this declaration, and was sorry for the 
warmth she had been betrayed into in speaking of him. She 
felt that Edward stood very high in her opinion. She believed 
the regard to be mutual ; but she required greater certainty of 
it to make Marianne's conviction of their attachment agreeable 
to her. She knew that what Marianne and her mother con- 
jectured one moment, they believed the next — that with them, 
to wish was to hope, and to hope was to expect. She tried to 
explain the real state of the case to her sister. 

' I do not attempt to deny,' said she, * that I think very 
highly of him — that I greatly esteem, that I like him.' 

Marianne here burst forth with indignation — 
C 17 


'Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh, 
worse than cold-hearted ! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use 
those words again, and I will leave the room this moment.' 

Elinor could not help laughing. ' Excuse me,' said she ; 
1 and be assured that I meant no offence to you, by speaking 
in so quiet a way of my own feelings. Believe them to be 
stronger than I have declared ; believe them, in short, to be 
such as his merit, and the suspicion — the hope — of his affection 
for me may warrant, without imprudence or folly. But further 
than this you must not believe. I am by no means assured of 
his regard for me. There are moments when the extent of it 
seems doubtful ; and till his sentiments are fully known, you 
cannot wonder at my wishing to avoid any encouragement of 
my own partiality, by believing or calling it more than it is. 
In my heart I feel little — scarcely any doubt, of his preference. 
But there are other points to be considered besides his inclina- 
tion. He is very far from being independent. What his 
mother really is we cannot know ; but, from Fanny's occasional 
mention of her conduct and opinions, we have never been 
disposed to think her amiable ; and I am very much mistaken 
if Edward is not himself aware that there would be many 
difficulties in his way, if he were to wish to marry a woman 
who had not either a great fortune or high rank.' 

Marianne was astonished to find how much the imagination 
of her mother and herself had outstripped the truth. 

e And you really are not engaged to him ! ' said she. ' Yet 
it certainly soon will happen. But two advantages will proceed 
from this delay. / shall not lose you so soon, and Edward 
will have greater opportunity of improving that natural taste 
for your favourite pursuit which must be so indispensably 
necessary to your future felicity. Oh ! if he should be so far 
stimulated by your genius as to learn to draw himself, how 
delightful it would be ! ' 

Elinor had given her real opinion to her sister. She could 
not consider her partiality for Edward in so prosperous a state 
as Marianne had believed it. There was, at times, a want of 
spirits about him which, if it did not denote indifference, spoke 
a something almost as unpromising. A doubt of her regard, 
supposing him to feel it, need not give him more than in- 
quietude. It would not be likely to produce that dejection of 
mind which frequently attended him. A more reasonable cause 



might be found in the dependent situation which forbade the 
indulgence of his affection. She knew that his mother neither 
behaved to him so as to make his home comfortable at present, 
nor to give him any assurance that he might form a home 
for himself, without strictly attending to her views for his 
aggrandisement. With such a knowledge as this, it was im- 
possible for Elinor to feel easy on the subject. She was far 
from depending on that result of his preference of her which 
her mother and sister still considered as certain. Nay, the 
longer they were together the more doubtful seemed the nature 
of his regard ; and sometimes, for a few painful minutes, she 
believed it to be no more than friendship. 

But, whatever might really be its limits, it was enough, 
when perceived by his sister, to make her uneasy, and at the 
same time (which was still more common) to make her uncivil. 
She took the first opportunity of affronting her mother-in-law 
on the occasion, talking to her so expressively of her brother's 
great expectations, of Mrs. Ferrars's resolution that both her 
sons should marry well, and of the danger attending any young 
woman who attempted to draw him in, that Mrs. Dashwood 
could neither pretend to be unconscious, nor endeavour to be 
calm. She gave her an answer which marked her contempt, 
and instantly left the room, resolving that, whatever might be 
the inconvenience or expense of so sudden a removal, her 
beloved Elinor should not be exposed another week to such 

In this state of her spirits a letter was delivered to her from 
the post, which contained a proposal particularly well timed. 
It was the offer of a small house, on very easy terms, belonging 
to a relation of her own, a gentleman of consequence and 
property in Devonshire. The letter was from this gentleman 
himself, and written in the true spirit of friendly accommoda- 
tion. He understood that she was in need of a dwelling ; and 
though the house he now offered her was merely a cottage, he 
assured her that everything should be done to it which she might 
think necessary, if the situation pleased her. He earnestly 
pressed her, after giving the particulars of the house and 
garden, to come with her daughters to Barton Park, the place 
of his own residence, from whence she might judge, herself, 
whether Barton Cottage — for the houses were in the same 
parish — could, by any alteration, be made comfortable for her. 

IQ - 


He seemed really anxious to accommodate them; and the 
whole of his letter was written in so friendly a style as could 
not fail of giving pleasure to his cousin ; more especially at a 
moment when she was suffering under the cold and unfeeling 
behaviour of her nearer connections. She needed no time for 
deliberation or inquiry. Her resolution was formed as she 
read. The situation of Barton, in a county so far distant from 
Sussex as Devonshire, which, but a few hours before, would 
have been a sufficient objection to outweigh every possible 
advantage belonging to the place, was now its first recom- 
mendation. To quit the neighbourhood of Norland was no 
longer an evil ; it was an object of desire ; it was a blessing, 
in comparison of the misery of continuing her daughter-in-law's 
guest : and to remove for ever from that beloved place would 
be less painful than to inhabit or visit it while such a woman 
was its mistress. She instantly wrote Sir John Middleton her 
acknowledgment of his kindness, and her acceptance of his 
proposal ; and then hastened to show both letters to her 
daughters, that she might be secure of their approbation before 
her answer were sent. 

Elinor had always thought it would be more prudent for 
them to settle at some distance from Norland than immediately 
amongst their present acquaintance. On that head, therefore, 
it was not for her to oppose her mother's intention of removing 
into Devonshire. The house, too, as described by Sir John, 
was on so simple a scale, and the rent so uncommonly 
moderate, as to leave her no right of objection on either point ; 
and therefore, though it was not a plan which brought any 
charm to her fancy, though it was a removal from the vicinity of 
Norland beyond her wishes, she made no attempt to dissuade 
her mother from sending a letter of acquiescence. 


No sooner was her answer despatched, than Mrs. Dashwood 
indulged herself in the pleasure of announcing to her son-in- 
law and his wife that she was provided with a house, and 
should incommode them no longer than till everything were 


ready for her inhabiting it. They heard her with surprise. 
Mrs. John Dashwood said nothing ; but her husband civilly 
hoped that she would not be settled far from Norland. She 
had great satisfaction in replying that she was going into 
Devonshire. — Edward turned hastily towards her, on hearing 
this, and, in a voice of surprise and concern, which required 
no explanation to her, repeated, £ Devonshire ! Are you, 
indeed, going there ? So far from hence 1 and to what part 
of it ? ' She explained the situation. It was within four miles 
northward of Exeter. 

£ It is but a cottage,' she continued, * but I hope to see 
many of my friends in it. A room or two can easily be added ; 
and if my friends find no difficulty in travelling so far to see 
me, I am sure I will find none in accommodating them.' 

She concluded with a very kind invitation to Mr. and Mrs. 
John Dashwood to visit her at Barton ; and to Edward she 
gave one with still greater affection. Though her late con- 
versation with her daughter-in-law had made her resolve on 
remaining at Norland no longer than was unavoidable, it had 
not produced the smallest effect on her in that point to which 
it principally tended. To separate Edward and Elinor was as 
far from being her object as ever ; and she wished to show 
Mrs. John Dashwood, by this pointed invitation to her brother, 
how totally she disregarded her disapprobation of the match. 

Mr. John Dashwood told his mother again and again how 
exceedingly sorry he was that she had taken a house at such 
a distance from Norland as to prevent his being of any service 
to her in removing her furniture. He really felt conscientiously 
vexed on the occasion ; for the very exertion to which he had 
limited the performance of his promise to his father was by 
this arrangement rendered impracticable. — The furniture was 
all sent round by water. It chiefly consisted of household 
linen, plate, china, and books, with a handsome pianoforte of 
Marianne's. Mrs. John Dashwood saw the packages depart 
with a sigh : she could not help feeling it hard that, as Mrs. 
Dashwood's income would be so trifling in comparison with 
their own, she should have any handsome article of furniture. 

Mrs. Dashwood took the house for a twelvemonth ; it was 
ready furnished, and she might have immediate possession. 
No difficulty arose on either side in the agreement ; and she 
waited only for the disposal of her effects at Norland, and to 


determine her future household, before she set off for the west ; 
and this, as she was exceedingly rapid in the performance of 
everything that interested her, was soon done. — The horses 
which were left her by her husband had been sold soon after 
his death, and an opportunity now offering of disposing of her 
carriage, she agreed to sell that likewise, at the earnest advice 
of her eldest daughter. For the comfort of her children, had 
she consulted only her own wishes, she would have kept it ; 
but the discretion of Elinor prevailed. Her wisdom, too, 
limited the number of their servants to three ; two maids and 
a man, with whom they were speedily provided from amongst 
those who had formed their establishment at Norland. 

The man and one of the maids were sent off immediately 
into Devonshire, to prepare the house for their mistress's 
arrival ; for as Lady Middleton was entirely unknown to Mrs. 
Dashwood, she preferred going directly to the cottage to being 
a visitor at Barton Park ; and she relied so undoubtingly on 
Sir John's description of the house as to feel no curiosity to 
examine it herself till she entered it as her own. Her eager- 
ness to be gone from Norland was preserved from diminution 
by the evident satisfaction of her daughter-in-law in the 
prospect of her removal ; a satisfaction which was but feebly 
attempted to be concealed under a cold invitation to her to 
defer her departure. Now was the time when her son-in-law's 
promise to his father might with particular propriety be ful- 
filled. Since he had neglected to do it on first coming to the 
estate, their quitting his house might be looked on as the most 
suitable period for its accomplishment. But Mrs. Dashwood 
began, shortly, to give over every hope of the kind, and to be 
convinced, from the general drift of his discourse, that his 
assistance extended no further than their maintenance for six 
months at Norland. He so frequently talked of the increasing 
expenses of housekeeping, and of the perpetual demands upon 
his purse, which a man of any consequence in the world was 
beyond calculation exposed to, that he seemed rather to stand 
in need of more money himself than to have any design of 
giving money away. 

In a very few weeks from the day which brought Sir John 
Middleton's first letter to Norland, everything was so far 
settled in their future abode as to enable Mrs. Dashwood and 
her daughters to begin their journey. 


Many were the tears shed by them in their last adieus 
to a place so much beloved. 'Dear, dear Norland,' said 
Marianne, as she wandered alone before the house, on the 
last evening of their being there ; ' when shall I cease to regret 
you !— when learn to feel a home elsewhere ! Oh, happy 
house, could you know what I suffer in now viewing you from 
this spot, from whence, perhaps, I may view you no more ! 
And you, ye well-known trees ! — but you will continue the 
same. No leaf will decay because we are removed, nor any 
branch become motionless although we can observe you no 
longer ! No ; you will continue the same, unconscious of the 
pleasure or the regret you occasion, and insensible of any 
change in those who walk under your shade ! But who will 
remain to enjoy you ? } 


The first part of their journey was performed in too melancholy 
a disposition to be otherwise than tedious and unpleasant. 
But as they drew towards the end of it, their interest in the 
appearance of a country which they were to inhabit overcame 
their dejection, and a view of Barton Valley, as they entered 
it, gave them cheerfulness. It was a pleasant fertile spot, well 
wooded, and rich in pasture. After winding along it for more 
than a mile, they reached their own house. A small green 
court was the whole of its demesne in front ; and a neat wicket- 
gate admitted them into it. 

As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable 
and compact ; but as a cottage it was defective, for the build- 
ing was regular, the roof was tiled, the window-shutters were 
not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honey- 
suckles. A narrow passage led directly through the house 
into the garden behind. On each side of the entrance was a 
sitting-room about sixteen feet square ; and beyond them were 
the offices and the stairs. Four bedrooms and two garrets 
formed the rest of the house. It had not been built many 
years, and was in good repair. In comparison of Norland, it 
was poor and small indeed ! — but the tears which recollection 



called forth as they entered the house were soon dried away. 
They were cheered by the joy of the servants on their arrival, 
and each for the sake of the others resolved to appear happy. 
It was very early in September ; the season was fine ; and 
from first seeing the place under the advantage of good weather, 
they received an impression in its favour which was of material 
service in recommending it to their lasting approbation. 

The situation of the house was good. High hills rose 
immediately behind, and at no great distance on each side ; 
some of which were open downs, the others cultivated and 
woody. The village of Barton was chiefly on one of these 
hills, and formed a pleasant view from the cottage windows. 
The prospect in front was more extensive ; it commanded the 
whole of the valley, and reached into the country beyond. 
The hills which surrounded the cottage terminated the valley 
in that direction ; under another name, and in another course, 
it branched out again between two of the steepest of them. 

With the size and furniture of the house Mrs. Dashwood 
was upon the whole well satisfied ; for though her former style 
of life rendered many additions to the latter indispensable, yet 
to add and improve was a delight to her ; and she had at this 
time ready money enough to supply all that was wanted of 
greater elegance to the apartments. ' As for the house itself, 
to be sure,' said she, c it is too small for our family, but we 
will make ourselves tolerably comfortable for the present, as 
it is too late in the year for improvements. Perhaps in the 
spring, if I have plenty of money, as I daresay I shall, we 
may think about building. These parlours are both too small 
for such parties of our friends as I hope to see often collected 
here ; and I have some thoughts of throwing the passage into 
one of them, with perhaps a part of the other, and so leave the 
remainder of that other for an entrance ; this, with a new 
drawing-room which may be easily added, and a bed-chamber 
and garret above, will make it a very snug little cottage. I 
could wish the stairs were handsome. But one must not 
expect everything ; though I suppose it would be no difficult 
matter to widen them. I shall see how much I am before- 
hand with the world in the spring, and we will plan our 
improvements accordingly.' 

In the meantime, till all these alterations could be made 
from the savings of an income of five hundred a year by a 



woman who never saved in her life, they were wise enough to 
be contented with the house as it was ; and each of them was 
busy in arranging their particular concerns, and endeavouring, 
by placing around them their books and other possessions, to 
form themselves a home. Marianne's pianoforte was unpacked 
and properly disposed of; and Elinor's drawings were affixed 
to the walls of their sitting-room. 

In such employments as these they were interrupted soon 
after breakfast the next day by the entrance of their landlord, 
who called to welcome them to Barton, and to offer them every 
accommodation from his own house and garden in which theirs 
might at present be deficient. Sir John Middleton was a good- 
looking man, about forty. He had formerly visited at Stanhill, 
but it was too long ago for his young cousins to remember 
him. His countenance was thoroughly good-humoured ; and 
his manners were as friendly as the style of his letter. Their 
arrival seemed to afford him real satisfaction, and their comfort 
to be an object of real solicitude to him. He said much of his 
earnest desire of their living on the most sociable terms with 
his family, and pressed them so cordially to dine at Barton 
Park every day till they were better settled at home, that, 
though his entreaties were carried to a point of perseverance 
beyond civility, they could not give offence. His kindness 
was not confined to words ; for within an hour after he left 
them, a large basket, full of garden stuff and fruit, arrived from 
the Park, which was followed before the end of the day by a 
present of game. He insisted, moreover, on conveying all 
their letters to and from the post for them, and would not be 
denied the satisfaction for sending them his newspaper every 

Lady Middleton had sent a very civil message by him, 
denoting her intention of waiting on Mrs. Dashwood as soon 
as she could be assured that her visit would be no incon- 
venience ; and as this message was answered by an invitation 
equally polite, her ladyship was introduced to them the next 

They were, of course, very anxious to see a person on 
whom so much of their comfort at Barton must depend ; and 
the elegance of her appearance was favourable to their wishes. 
Lady Middleton was not more than six or seven and twenty ; 
her face was handsome, her figure tall and striking, and her 


So shy before company* 


address graceful. Her manners had all the elegance which 
her husband's wanted. But they would have been improved 
by some share of his frankness and warmth ; and her visit was 
long enough to detract something from their first admiration, 
by showing that, though perfectly well bred, she was reserved, 
cold, and had nothing to say for herself beyond the most 
commonplace inquiry or remark. 

Conversation, however, was not wanted, for Sir John was 
very chatty, and Lady Middleton had taken the wise precaution 
of bringing with her their eldest child, a fine little boy about 
six years old ; by which means there was one subject always 
to be recurred to by the ladies in case of extremity, for they 
had to inquire his name and age, admire his beauty, and ask 
him questions which his mother answered for him, while he 
hung about her and held down his head, to the great surprise 
of her ladyship, who wondered at his being so shy before 
company, as he could make noise enough at home. On every 
formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of pro- 
vision for discourse. In the present case it took up ten 
minutes to determine whether the boy were most like his 
father or mother, and in what particular he resembled either, 
for of course everybody differed, and everybody was astonished 
at the opinion of the others. 

An opportunity was soon to be given to the Dashwoods of 
debating on the rest of the children, as Sir John would not 
leave the house without securing their promise of dining at the 
Park the next day. 


Barton Park was about half a mile from the cottage. The 
ladies had passed near it in their way along the valley, but it 
was screened from their view at home by the projection of a 
hill. The house was large and handsome ; and the Middletons 
lived in a style of equal hospitality and elegance. The former 
was for Sir John's gratification, the latter for that of his lady. 
They were scarcely ever without some friends staying with 
them in the house, and they kept more company of every kind 
than any other family in the neighbourhood. It was necessary 



to the happiness of both ; for however dissimilar in temper 
and outward behaviour, they strongly resembled each other in 
that total want of talent and taste which confined their employ- 
ments, unconnected with such as society produced, within 
a very narrow compass. Sir John was a sportsman, Lady 
Middleton a mother. He hunted and shot, and she humoured 
her children ; and these were their only resources. Lady 
Middleton had the advantage of being able to spoil her children 
all the year round, while Sir John's independent employments 
were in existence only half the time. Continual engagements 
at home and abroad, however, supplied all the deficiencies of 
nature and education ; supported the good spirits of Sir John, 
and gave exercise to the good breeding of his wife. 

Lady Middleton piqued herself upon the elegance of her 
table, and of all her domestic arrangements ; and from this 
kind of vanity was her greatest enjoyment in any of their 
parties. But Sir John's satisfaction in society was much more 
real ; he delighted in collecting about him more young people 
than his house would hold, and the noisier they were the better 
was he pleased. He was a blessing to all the juvenile part of 
the neighbourhood ; for in summer he was for ever forming 
parties to eat cold ham and chicken out of doors, and in winter 
his private balls were numerous enough for any young lady 
who was not suffering under the insatiable appetite of fifteen. 

The arrival of a new family in the country was always a 
matter of joy to him ; and in every point of view he was 
charmed with the inhabitants he had now procured for his 
cottage at Barton. The Miss Dashwoods were young, pretty, 
and unaffected. It was enough to secure his good opinion ; 
for to be unaffected was all that a pretty girl could want to 
make her mind as captivating as her person. The friendliness 
of his disposition made him happy in accommodating those 
whose situation might be considered, in comparison with the 
past, as unfortunate. In showing kindness to his cousins, 
therefore, he had the real satisfaction of a good heart ; and in 
settling a family of females only in his cottage, he had all the 
satisfaction of a sportsman ; for a sportsman, though he 
esteems only those of his sex who are sportsmen likewise, is 
not often desirous of encouraging their taste by admitting 
them to a residence within his own manor. 

Mrs. Dash wood and her daughters were met at the door of 


the house by Sir John, who welcomed them to Barton Park 
with unaffected sincerity ; and, as he attended them to the 
drawing-room, repeated to the young ladies the concern which 
the same subject had drawn from him the day before, at being 
unable to get any smart young men to meet them. They 
would see, he said, only one gentleman there besides himself; 
a particular friend who was staying at the Park, but who was 
neither very young nor very gay. He hoped they would all 
excuse the smallness of the party, and could assure them it 
would never happen so again. He had been to several 
families that morning, in hopes of procuring some addition to 
their number, but it was moonlight, and everybody was full of 
engagements. Luckily, Lady Middleton's mother had arrived 
at Barton within the last hour ; and as she was a very cheerful, 
agreeable woman, he hoped the young ladies would not find it 
so very dull as they might imagine. The young ladies, as 
well as their mother, were perfectly satisfied with having two 
entire strangers of the party, and wished for no more. 

Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton's mother, was a good- 
humoured, merry, fat, elderly woman, who talked a great deal, 
seemed very happy, and rather vulgar. She was full of jokes 
and laughter, and before dinner was over had said many witty 
things on the subject of lovers and husbands ; hoped they had 
not left their hearts behind them in Sussex, and pretended to 
see them blush whether they did or not. Marianne was vexed 
at it for her sister's sake, and turned her eyes towards Elinor 
to see how she bore these attacks, with an earnestness which 
gave Elinor far more pain than could arise from such common- 
place raillery as Mrs. Jennings's. 

Colonel Brandon, the friend of Sir John, seemed no more 
adapted by resemblance of manner to be his friend, than Lady 
Middleton was to be his wife, or Mrs. Jennings to be Lady 
Middleton's mother. He was silent and grave. His appear- 
ance, however, was not unpleasing, in spite of his being, in 
the opinion of Marianne and Margaret, an absolute old 
bachelor, for he was on the wrong side of five-and-thirty ; but 
though his face was not handsome, his countenance was sen- 
sible, and his address was particularly gentlemanlike. 

There was nothing in any of the party which could re- 
commend them as companions to the Dash woods ; but the 
cold insipidity of Lady Middleton was so particularly repulsive, 



that in comparison of it the gravity of Colonel Brandon, and 
even the boisterous mirth of Sir John and his mother-in-law, 
was interesting. Lady Middleton seemed to be roused to 
enjoyment only by the entrance of her four noisy children after 
dinner, who pulled her about, tore her clothes, and put an end 
to every kind of discourse except what related to themselves. 

In the evening, as Marianne was discovered to be musical, 
she was invited to play. The instrument was unlocked, every- 
body prepared to be charmed, and Marianne, who sang very 
well, at their request went through the chief of the songs which 
Lady Middleton had brought into the family on her marriage, 
and which, perhaps, had lain ever since in the same position 
on the pianoforte ; for her ladyship had celebrated that event 
by giving up music, although, by her mother's account, she 
had played extremely well, and by her own was very fond of it. 

Marianne's performance was highly applauded. Sir John 
was loud in his admiration at the end of every song, and as 
loud in his conversation with the others while every song lasted. 
Lady Middleton frequently called him to order, wondered how 
any one's attention could be diverted from music for a moment, 
and asked Marianne to sing a particular song which Marianne 
had just finished. Colonel Brandon alone, of all the party, 
heard her without being in raptures. He paid her only the 
compliment of attention, and she felt a respect for him on the 
occasion, which the others had reasonably forfeited by their 
shameless want of taste. His pleasure in music, though it 
amounted not to that ecstatic delight which alone could 
sympathise with her own, was estimable when contrasted 
against the horrible insensibility of the others ; and she was 
reasonable enough to allow that a man of five-and-thirty might 
well have outlived all acuteness of feeling, and every exquisite 
power of enjoyment. She was perfectly disposed to make 
every allowance for the colonel's advanced state of life which 
humanity required. 




Mrs. Jennings was a widow with an ample jointure. She 
had only two daughters, both of whom she had lived to see 
respectably married, and she had now, therefore, nothing to do 
but to marry all the rest of the world. In the promotion of 
this object she was zealously active, as far as her ability 
reached ; and missed no opportunity of projecting weddings 
among all the young people of her acquaintance. She was 
remarkably quick in the discovery of attachments, and had 
enjoyed the advantage of raising the blushes and the vanity of 
many a young lady by insinuations of her power over such a 
young man ; and this kind of discernment enabled her, soon 
after her arrival at Barton, decisively to pronounce that Colonel 
Brandon was very much in love with Marianne Dashwood. 
She rather suspected it to be so, on the very first evening of 
their being together, from his listening so attentively while 
she sang to them ; and when the visit was returned by the 
Middletons dining at the cottage, the fact was ascertained by 
his listening to her again. It must be so. She was perfectly 
convinced of it. It would be an excellent match, for he was 
rich, and she was handsome. Mrs. Jennings had been anxious 
to see Colonel Brandon well married, ever since her connection 
with Sir John first brought him to her knowledge ; and she 
was always anxious to get a good husband for every pretty 

The immediate advantage to herself was by no means 
inconsiderable, for it supplied her with endless jokes against 
them both. At the Park she laughed at the colonel, and in 
the cottage at Marianne. To the former her raillery was 
probably, as far as it regarded only himself, perfectly indifferent ; 
but to the latter it was at first incomprehensible ; and when its 
object was understood, she hardly knew whether most to laugh 
at its absurdity, or censure its impertinence ; for she considered 
it as an unfeeling reflection on the colonel's advanced years, 
and on his forlorn condition as an old bachelor. 

Mrs. Dashwood, who could not think a man five years 
younger than herself so exceedingly ancient as he appeared to 



the youthful fancy of her daughter, ventured to clear Mrs. 
Jennings from the probability of wishing to throw ridicule on 
his age. 

* But at least, mamma, you cannot deny the absurdity of the 
accusation, though you may not think it intentionally ill-natured. 
Colonel Brandon is certainly younger than Mrs. Jennings, but 
he is old enough to be my father ; and if he were ever animated 
enough to be in love, must have long outlived every sensation 
of the kind. It is too ridiculous ! When is a man to be safe 
from such wit, if age and infirmity will not protect him ? ' 

' Infirmity ! ' said Elinor, * do you call Colonel Brandon 
infirm ? I can easily suppose that his age may appear much 
greater to you than to my mother ; but you can hardly deceive 
yourself as to his having the use of his limbs ? } 

' Did not you hear him complain of the rheumatism ? and is 
not that the commonest infirmity of declining life ? ' 

' My dearest child,' said her mother, laughing, * at this rate 
you must be in continual terror of my decay ; and it must seem 
to you a miracle that my life has been extended to the 
advanced age of forty.' 

* Mamma, you are not doing me justice. I know very well 
that Colonel Brandon is not old enough to make his friends 
yet apprehensive of losing him in the course of nature. He 
may live twenty years longer. But thirty-five has nothing to 
do with matrimony.' 

'Perhaps/ said Elinor, 'thirty-five and seventeen had 
better not have anything to do with matrimony together. 
But if there should by any chance happen to be a woman 
who is single at seven-and-twenty, I should not think Colonel 
Brandon's being thirty-five any objection to his marrying kerJ 

' A woman of seven-and-twenty/ said Marianne, after pausing 
a moment, ' can never hope to feel or inspire affection again, 
and if her home be uncomfortable, or her fortune small, I can 
suppose that she might bring herself to submit to the offices of 
a nurse, for the sake of the provision and security of a wife. 
In his marrying such a woman, therefore, there would be 
nothing unsuitable. It would be a compact of convenience, 
and the world would be satisfied. In my eyes it would be no 
marriage at all, but that would be nothing. To me it would 
seem only a commercial exchange, in which each wished to be 
benefited at the expense of the other.' 



' It would be impossible, I know,' replied Elinor, « to con- 
vince you that a woman of seven-and-twenty could feel for a 
man of thirty-five anything near enough to love, to make him 
a desirable companion to her. But I must object to your 
dooming Colonel Brandon and his wife to the constant con- 
finement of a sick chamber, merely because he chanced to 
complain yesterday (a very cold damp day) of a slight rheu- 
matic feel in one of his shoulders.' 

* But he talked of flannel waistcoats,' said Marianne ; * and 
with me a flannel waistcoat is invariably connected with aches, 
cramps, rheumatisms, and every species of ailment that can 
afflict the old and the feeble.' 

* Had he been only in a violent fever, you would not have 
despised him half so much. Confess, Marianne, is not there 
something interesting to you in the flushed cheek, hollow eye, 
and quick pulse of a fever ? ' 

Soon after this, upon Elinor's leaving the room, * Mamma,' 
said Marianne, * I have alarm on the subject of illness which 
I cannot conceal from you. I am sure Edward Ferrars is not 
well. We have now been here almost a fortnight, and yet 
he does not come. Nothing but real indisposition could 
occasion this extraordinary delay. What else can detain him 
at Norland ? ' 

* Had you any idea of his coming so soon?' said Mrs. 
Dashwood. * / had none. On the contrary, if I have felt any 
anxiety at all on the subject, it has been in recollecting that he 
sometimes showed a want of pleasure and readiness in accepting 
my invitation, when I talked of his coming to Barton. Does 
Elinor expect him already ? ' 

' I have never mentioned it to her, but of course she must.' 

* I rather think you are mistaken, for when I was talking to 
her yesterday of getting a new grate for the spare bed-chamber, 
she observed that there was no immediate hurry for it, 
as it was not likely that the room would be wanted for some 

* How strange this is ! what can be the meaning of it ? But 
the whole of their behaviour to each other has been unaccount- 
able ! How cold, how composed, were their last adieus ! How 
languid their conversation the last evening of their being 
together ! In Edward's farewell there was no distinction 
between Elinor and me : it was the good wishes of an affec- 

3> 33 


tionate brother to both. Twice did I leave them purposely 
together in the course of the last morning, and each time did 
he most unaccountably follow me out of the room. And 
Elinor, in quitting Norland and Edward, cried not as I did. 
Even now her self-command is invariable. When is she 
dejected or melancholy ? When does she try to avoid society, 
or appear restless and dissatisfied in it ? ' 


The Dashwoods were now settled at Barton with tolerable 
comfort to themselves. The house and the garden, with all 
the objects surrounding them, were now become familiar, and 
the ordinary pursuits which had given to Norland half its 
charms were engaged in again with far greater enjoyment than 
Norland had been able to afford since the loss of their father. 
Sir John Middleton, who called on them every day for the first 
fortnight, and who was not in the habit of seeing much occupa- 
tion at home, could not conceal his amazement on finding them 
always employed. 

Their visitors, except those from Barton Park, were not 
many ; for, in spite of Sir John's urgent entreaties that they 
would mix more in the neighbourhood, and repeated assurances 
of his carriage being always at their service, the independence 
of Mrs. Dashwood's spirit overcame the wish of society for her 
children ; and she was resolute in declining to visit any family 
beyond the distance of a walk. There were but few who could 
be so classed ; and it was not all of them that were attainable. 
About a mile and a half from the cottage, along the narrow 
winding valley of Allenham, which issued from that of Barton, 
as formerly described, the girls had, in one of their earliest 
walks, discovered an ancient respectable -looking mansion, 
which, by reminding them a little of Norland, interested their 
imagination and made them wish to be better acquainted with 
it. But they learnt, on inquiry, that its possessor, an elderly 
lady of very good character, was unfortunately too infirm to 
mix with the world, and never stirred from home. 

The whole country about them abounded in beautiful walks. 



The high downs, which invited them from almost every 
window of the cottage to seek the exquisite enjoyment of air 
on their summits, were a happy alternative when the dirt of 
the valleys beneath shut up their superior beauties ; and 
towards one of these hills did Marianne and Margaret one 
memorable morning direct their steps, attracted by the partial 
sunshine of a showery sky, and unable longer to bear the 
confinement which the settled rain of the two preceding days 
had occasioned. The weather was not tempting enough to 
draw the two others from their pencil and their book, in spite 
of Marianne's declaration that the day would be lastingly fair, 
and that every threatening cloud would be drawn off from their 
hills ; and the two girls set off together. 

They gaily ascended the downs, rejoicing in their own 
penetration at every glimpse of blue sky ; and when they 
caught in their faces the animating gales of a high south- 
westerly wind, they pitied the fears which had prevented their 
mother and Elinor from sharing such delightful sensations. 

* Is there a felicity in the world,' said Marianne, i superior 
to this ? — Margaret, we will walk here at least two hours.' 

Margaret agreed, and they pursued their way against the 
wind, resisting it with laughing delight for about twenty 
minutes longer, when suddenly the clouds united over their 
heads, and a driving rain set full in their face. Chagrined 
and surprised, they were obliged, though unwillingly, to turn 
back, for no shelter was nearer than their own house. One 
consolation, however, remained for them, to which the exigence 
of the moment gave more than usual propriety, — it was that of 
running with all possible speed down the steep side of the hill 
which led immediately to their garden gate. 

They set off. Marianne had at first the advantage, but a 
false step brought her suddenly to the ground ; and Margaret, 
unable to stop herself to assist her, was involuntarily hurried 
along, and reached the bottom in safety. 

A gentleman carrying a gun, with two pointers playing 
round him, was passing up the hill, and within a few yards of 
Marianne, when her accident happened. He put down his 
gun and ran to her assistance. She had raised herself from 
the ground, but her foot had been twisted in the fall, and she 
was scarcely able to stand. The gentleman offered his 
services ; and perceiving that her modesty declined what her 



situation rendered necessary, took her up in his arms, without 
further delay, and carried her down the hill. Then passing 
through the garden, the gate of which had been left open by 
Margaret, he bore her directly into the house, whither Margaret 
was just arrived, and quitted not his hold till he had seated 
her in a chair in the parlour. 

Elinor and her mother rose up in amazement at their 
entrance ; and while the eyes of both were fixed on him with 
an evident wonder and a secret admiration which equally 
sprang from his appearance, he apologised for his intrusion, 
by relating its cause, in a manner so frank and so graceful, 
that his person, which was uncommonly handsome, received 
additional charms from his voice and expression. Had he 
been even old, ugly, and vulgar, the gratitude and kindness 
of Mrs. Dash wood would have been secured by any act of 
attention to her child ; but the influence of youth, beauty, and 
elegance, gave an interest to the action which came home to 
her feelings. 

She thanked him again and again ; and, with a sweetness 
of address which always attended her, invited him to be 
seated. But this he declined, as he was dirty and wet. Mrs. 
Dash wood then begged to know to whom she was obliged. 
His name, he replied, was Willoughby, and his present home 
was at Allenham, from whence he hoped she would allow him 
the honour of calling to-morrow to inquire after Miss 
Dashwood. The honour was readily granted, and he then 
departed, to make himself still more interesting, in the midst 
of a heavy rain. 

His manly beauty and more than common gracefulness 
were instantly the theme of general admiration ; and the 
laugh which his gallantry raised against Marianne received 
particular spirit from his exterior attractions. Marianne 
herself had seen less of his person than the rest, for the con- 
fusion which crimsoned over her face, on his lifting her up, 
had robbed her of the power of regarding him after their 
entering the house. But she had seen enough of him to join 
in all the admiration of the others, and with an energy which 
always adorned her praise. His person and air were equal to 
what her fancy had ever drawn for the hero of a favourite 
story ; and in his carrying her into the house with so little 
previous formality there was a rapidity of thought which 



particularly recommended the action to her. Every circum- 
stance belonging to him was interesting. His name was 
good, his residence was in their favourite village, and she 
soon found out that of all manly dresses a shooting-jacket was 
the most becoming. Her imagination was busy, her reflec- 
tions were pleasant, and the pain of a sprained ankle was 

Sir John called on them as soon as the next interval of 
fair weather that morning allowed him to get out of doors ; 
and Marianne's accident being related to him, he was eagerly 
asked whether he knew any gentleman of the name of 
Willoughby at Allenham. 

* Willoughby ! ' cried Sir John ; * what, is he in the country ? 
That is good news however ; I will ride over to-morrow, and 
ask him to dinner on Thursday.' 

£ You know him, then,' said Mrs. Dashwood. 

' Know him ! to be sure I do. Why, he is down here 
every year.' 

4 And what sort of a young man is he ? ' 

' As good a kind of fellow as ever lived, I assure you. A 
very decent shot, and there is not a bolder rider in England.' 

4 And is that all you can say for him ? ; cried Marianne, in- 
dignantly. * But what are his manners on more intimate 
acquaintance ? What his pursuits, his talents, and genius ? ' 

Sir John was rather puzzled. 

* Upon my soul,' said he, * I do not know much about him 
as to all that. But he is a pleasant, good-humoured fellow, 
and has got the nicest little black bitch of a pointer I ever saw. 
Was she out with him to-day ? ' 

But Marianne could no more satisfy him as to the colour 
of Mr. Willoughby's pointer, than he could describe to her the 
shades of his mind. 

* But who is he ? ' said Elinor. c Where does he come 
from ? Has he a house at Allenham ?' 

On this point Sir John could give more certain intelligence ; 
and he told them that Mr. Willoughby had no property of his 
own in the country ; that he resided there only while he was 
visiting the old lady at Allenham Court, to whom he was 
related, and whose possessions he was to inherit ; adding, 
* Yes, yes, he is very well worth catching, I can tell you, Miss 
Dashwood; he has a pretty little estate of his own, in 



Somersetshire, besides ; and if I were you I would not give 
him up to my younger sister, in spite of all this tumbling down 
hills. Miss Marianne must not expect to have all the men to 
herself. Brandon will be jealous, if she does not take care.' 

' I do not believe,' said Mrs. Dashwood, with a good- 
humoured smile, ' that Mr. Willoughby will be incommoded 
by the attempts of either of my daughters, towards what you 
call catching Mm. It is not an employment to which they 
have been brought up. Men are very safe with us, let them 
be ever so rich. I am glad to find, however, from what you 
say, that he is a respectable young man, and one whose 
acquaintance will not be ineligible.' 

< He is as good a sort of fellow, I believe, as ever lived,' 
repeated Sir John. ' I remember last Christmas, at a little 
hop at the Park, he danced from eight o'clock till four without 
once sitting down.' 

'Did he, indeed?' cried Marianne, with sparkling eyes; 
* and with elegance, with spirit ? ' 

' Yes ; and he was up again at eight to ride to covert.' 

1 That is what I like ; that is what a young man ought to 
be. Whatever be his pursuits, his eagerness in them should 
know no moderation, and leave him no sense of fatigue.' 

' Ay, ay, I see how it will be,' said Sir John, ' I see how it 
will be. You will be setting your cap at him now, and never 
think of poor Brandon.' 

* That is an expression, Sir John,' said Marianne warmly, 
' which I particularly dislike. I abhor every commonplace 
phrase by which wit is intended ! and " setting one's cap at 
a man," or " making a conquest," are the most odious of all. 
Their tendency is gross and illiberal ; and if their construction 
could ever be deemed clever, time has long ago destroyed all 
its ingenuity.' 

Sir John did not much understand this reproof; but he 
laughed as heartily as if he did, and then replied — 

' Ay, you will make conquests enough, I daresay, one way 
or other. Poor Brandon ! he is quite smitten already ; and 
he is very well worth setting your cap at, I can tell you, in 
spite of all this tumbling about and spraining of ankles.' 




Marianne's preserver, as Margaret, with more elegance than 
precision, styled Willoughby, called at the cottage early the 
next morning, to make his personal inquiries. He was 
received by Mrs. Dashwood with more than politeness ; with 
a kindness which Sir John's account of him and her own 
gratitude prompted ; and everything that passed during the 
visit tended to assure him of the sense, elegance, mutual 
affection, and domestic comfort of the family, to whom accident 
had now introduced him. Of their personal charms he had not 
required a second interview to be convinced. 

Miss Dashwood had a delicate complexion, regular features, 
and a remarkably pretty figure. Marianne was still handsomer. 
Her form, though not so correct as her sister's, in having the 
advantage of height, was more striking ; and her face was so 
lovely, that when, in the common cant of praise, she was called 
a beautiful girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually 
happens. Her skin was very brown, but, from its transparency, 
her complexion was uncommonly brilliant ; her features were 
all good ; her smile was sweet and attractive ; and in her eyes, 
which were very dark, there was a life, a spirit, an eagerness, 
which could hardly be seen without delight. From Willoughby 
their expression was at first held back by the embarrassment 
which the remembrance of his assistance created. But when 
this passed away, when her spirits became collected, when she 
saw that to the perfect good breeding of the gentleman he 
united frankness and vivacity, and above all when she heard 
him declare that of music and dancing he was passionately 
fond, she gave him such a look of approbation as secured 
the largest share of his discourse to herself for the rest of 
his stay. 

It was only necessary to mention any favourite amusement 
to engage her to talk. She could not be silent when such 
points were introduced, and she had neither shyness nor 
reserve in their discussion. They speedily discovered that 
their enjoyment of dancing and music was mutual, and that 
it arose from a general conformity of judgment in all that 



related to either. Encouraged by this to a further examina- 
tion of his opinions, she proceeded to question him on the 
subject of books : her favourite authors were brought forward 
and dwelt upon with so rapturous a delight that any young 
man of five-and-twenty must have been insensible indeed, not 
to become an immediate convert to the excellence of such 
works, however disregarded before. Their taste was strikingly 
alike. The same books, the same passages, were idolised by 
each ; or if any difference appeared, any objection arose, it 
lasted no longer than till the force of her arguments and the 
brightness of her eyes could be displayed. He acquiesced in 
all her decisions, caught all her enthusiasm ; and long before 
his visit concluded, they conversed with the familiarity of a 
long-established acquaintance. 

* Well, Marianne,' said Elinor, as soon as he had left them, 
'for one morning I think you have done pretty well. You 
have already ascertained Mr. Willoughby's opinion in almost 
every matter of importance. You know what he thinks of 
Cowper and Scott ; you are certain of his estimating their 
beauties as he ought, and you have received every assurance 
of his admiring Pope no more than is proper. But how is 
your acquaintance to be long supported, under such extra- 
ordinary despatch of every subject for discourse ? You will 
soon have exhausted each favourite topic. Another meeting 
will suffice to explain his sentiments on picturesque beauty, 
and second marriages, and then you can have nothing further 
to ask.' 

' Elinor, 3 cried Marianne, ' is this fair ? is this just ? are 
my ideas so scanty? But I see what you mean. I have 
been too much at my ease, too happy, too frank. I have 
erred against every commonplace notion of decorum ; I 
have been open and sincere where I ought to have been 
reserved, spiritless, dull, and deceitful : — had I talked only of 
the weather and the roads, and had I spoken only once in ten 
minutes, this reproach would have been spared.' 

6 My love,' said her mother, ' you must not be offended with 
Elinor — she was only in jest. I should scold her myself, if 
she were capable of wishing to check the delight of your 
conversation with our new friend.' Marianne was softened 
in a moment. 

Willoughby, on his side, gave every proof of his pleasure 


in their acquaintance which an evident wish of improving it 
could offer. He came to them every day. To inquire after 
Marianne was at first his excuse ; but the encouragement of 
his reception, to which every day gave greater kindness, made 
such an excuse unnecessary before it had ceased to be possible, 
by Marianne's perfect recovery. She was confined for some 
days to the house ; but never had any confinement been less 
irksome. Willoughby was a young man of good abilities, 
quick imagination, lively spirits, and open, affectionate manners. 
He was exactly formed to engage Marianne's heart ; for with 
all this, he joined not only a captivating person, but a natural 
ardour of mind which was now roused and increased by the 
example of her own, and which recommended him to her 
affection beyond everything else. 

His society became gradually her most exquisite enjoyment. 
They read, they talked, they sang together ; his musical talents 
were considerable ; and he read with all the sensibility and 
spirit which Edward had unfortunately wanted. 

In Mrs. Dashwood's estimation he was as faultless as in 
Marianne's ; and Elinor saw riothing to censure in him but 
a propensity, in which he strongly resembled and peculiarly 
delighted her sister, of saying too much what he thought on 
every occasion, without attention to persons or circumstances. 
In hastily forming and giving his opinion of other people, in 
sacrificing general politeness to the enjoyment of undivided 
attention where his heart was engaged, and in slighting too 
easily the forms of worldly propriety, he displayed a want of 
caution which Elinor could not approve, in spite of all that 
he and Marianne could say in its support. 

Marianne began now to perceive that the desperation 
which had seized her at sixteen and a half, of ever seeing a 
man who could satisfy her ideas of perfection, had been rash 
and unjustifiable. Willoughby was all that her fancy had de- 
lineated in that unhappy hour, and in every brighter period, as 
capable of attaching her; and his behaviour declared his wishes 
to be in that respect as earnest as his abilities were strong. 

Her mother, too, in whose mind not one speculative 
thought of their marriage had been raised by his prospect of 
riches, was led before the end of a week to hope and expect 
it ; and secretly to congratulate herself on having gained two 
such sons-in-law as Edward and Willoughby. 


They sang together. 


Colonel Brandon's partiality for Marianne, which had so 
early been discovered by his friends, now first became per- 
ceptible to Elinor, when it ceased to be noticed by them. 
Their attention and wit were drawn" off to his more fortunate 
rival ; and the raillery which the other had incurred before 
any partiality arose was removed when his feelings began 
really to call for the ridicule so justly annexed to sensibility. 
Elinor was obliged, though unwillingly, to believe that the 
sentiments which Mrs. Jennings had assigned him for her own 
satisfaction were now actually excited by her sister ; and that 
however a general resemblance of disposition between the 
parties might forward the affection of Mr. Willoughby, an 
equally striking opposition of character was no hindrance to 
the regard of Colonel Brandon. She saw it with concern ; for 
what could a silent man of five-and-thirty hope, when opposed 
by a very lively one of five-and-twenty ? and as she could not 
even wish him successful, she heartily wished him indifferent. 
She liked him — in spite of his gravity and reserve, she beheld 
in him an object of interest. His manners, though serious, 
were mild ; and his reserve appeared rather the result of some 
oppression of spirits than of any natural gloominess of temper. 
Sir John had dropped hints of past injuries and disappoint- 
ments, which justified her belief of his being an unfortunate 
man, and she regarded him with respect and compassion. 

Perhaps she pitied and esteemed him the more because he 
was slighted by Willoughby and Marianne, who, prejudiced 
against him for being neither lively nor young, seemed resolved 
to undervalue his merits. 

* Brandon is just the kind of man,' said Willoughby one 
day, when they were talking of him together, ' whom everybody 
speaks well of, and nobody cares about ; whom all are de- 
lighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to.' 

' That is exactly what I think of him,' cried Marianne. 

'Do not boast of it, however,' said Elinor, 'for it is 
injustice in both of you. He is highly esteemed by all the 
family at the Park, and I never see him myself without taking 
pains to converse with him.' 

'That he is patronised hy you, ^ replied Willoughby, 'is 
certainly in his favour ; but as for the esteem of the others, it 
is a reproach in itself. Who would submit to the indignity 
of being approved by such women as Lady # Middleton and 



Mrs. Jennings, that could command the indifference of any- 
body else ? ' 

* But perhaps the abuse of such people as yourself and 
Marianne will make amends for the regard of Lady Middleton 
and her mother. If their praise is censure, your censure may 
be praise, for they are not more undiscerning than you are 
prejudiced and unjust.' 

* In defence of your protig4 you can even be saucy.' 

' My protege, as you call him, is a sensible man ; and sense 
will always have attractions for me. Yes, Marianne, even in 
a man between thirty and forty. He has seen a great deal 
of the world ; has been abroad, has read, and has a think- 
ing mind. I have found him capable of giving me much 
information on various subjects ; and he has always answered my 
inquiries with the readiness of good breeding and good nature.' 

* That is to say,' cried Marianne contemptuously, ' he has 
told you that in the East Indies the climate is hot and the 
musquitoes are troublesome.' 

* He would have told me so, I doubt not, had I made any 
such inquiries, but they happened to be points on which I had 
been previously informed.' 

* Perhaps,' said Willoughby, * his observations may have 
extended to the existence of nabobs, gold mohrs, and 

* I may venture to say that his observations have stretched 
much further than your candour. But why should you dislike 

* I do not dislike him. I consider him, on the contrary, as 
a very respectable man, who has everybody's good word, and 
nobody's notice ; who has more money than he can spend, 
more time than he knows how to employ, and two new coats 
every year.' 

'Add to which,' cried Marianne, 'that he has neither 
genius, taste, nor spirit. That his understanding has no 
brilliancy, his feelings no ardour, and his voice no expression.' 

'You decide on his imperfections so much in the mass,' 
replied Elinor, 'and so much on the strength of your own 
imagination, that the commendation / am able to give of him 
is comparatively cold and insipid. I can only pronounce him 
to be a sensible man, well bred, well informed, of gentle ad- 
dress, and, I believe, possessing an amiable heart.' 



1 Miss Dashwood/ cried Willoughby, * you are now using 
me unkindly. You are endeavouring to disarm me by reason, 
and to convince me against my will. But it will not do. You 
shall find me as stubborn as you can be artful. I have three 
unanswerable reasons for disliking Colonel Brandon : he has 
threatened me with rain when I wanted it to be fine ; he has 
found fault with the hanging of my curricle, and I cannot 
persuade him to buy my brown mare. If it will be any 
satisfaction to you, however, to be told that I believe his 
character to be in other respects irreproachable, I am ready to 
confess it. And in return for an acknowledgment which 
must give me some pain, you cannot deny me the privilege of 
disliking him as much as ever.' 


Little had Mrs. Dashwood or her daughters imagined, when 
they first came into Devonshire, that so many engagements 
would arise to occupy their time as shortly presented them- 
selves, or that they should have such frequent invitations and 
such constant visitors as to leave them little leisure for serious 
employment. Yet such was the case. When Marianne was 
recovered, the schemes of amusement at home and abroad, 
which Sir John had been previously forming, were put in 
execution. The private balls at the Park then began ; and 
parties on the water were made and accomplished as often as 
a showery October would allow. In every meeting of the kind 
Willoughby was included ; and the ease and familiarity which 
naturally attended these parties were exactly calculated to give 
increasing intimacy to his acquaintance with the Dashwoods, 
to afford him opportunity of witnessing the excellencies of 
Marianne, of marking his animated admiration of her, and of 
receiving, in her behaviour to himself, the most pointed assur- 
ance of her affection. 

Elinor could not be surprised at their attachment. She 
only wished that it were less openly shown ; and once or twice 
did venture to suggest the propriety of some self-command to 
Marianne. But Marianne abhorred all concealment where no 



real disgrace could attend unreserve ; and to aim at the 
restraint of sentiments which were not in themselves illaudable 
appeared to her not merely an unnecessary effort, but a dis- 
graceful subjection of reason to commonplace and mistaken 
notions. Willoughby thought the same ; and their behaviour, 
at all times, was an illustration of their opinions. 

When he was present she had no eyes for any one else. 
Everything he did was right. Everything he said was clever. 
If their evenings at the Park were concluded with cards, he 
cheated himself and all the rest of the party to get her a good 
hand. If dancing formed the amusement of the night, they 
were partners for half the time ; and when obliged to separate 
for a couple of dances, were careful to stand together, and 
scarcely spoke a word to anybody else. Such conduct made 
them, of course, most exceedingly laughed at ; but ridicule 
could not shame, and seemed hardly to provoke them. 

Mrs. Dash wood entered into all their feelings with a warmth 
which left her no inclination for checking this excessive display 
of them. To her it was but the natural consequence of a 
strong affection in a young and ardent mind. 

This was the season of happiness to Marianne. Her heart 
was devoted to Willoughby; and the fond attachment to 
Norland, which she brought with her from Sussex, was more 
likely to be softened than she had thought it possible before, 
by the charms which his society bestowed on her present home. 

Elinor's happiness was not so great. Her heart was not 
so much at ease, nor her satisfaction in their amusements 
so pure. They afforded her no companion that could make 
amends for what she had left behind, nor that could teach her 
to think of Norland with less regret than ever. Neither Lady 
Middleton nor Mrs. Jennings could supply to her the conversa- 
tion she missed ; although the latter was an everlasting talker, 
and from the first had regarded her with a kindness which 
ensured her a large share of her discourse. She had already 
repeated her own history to Elinor three or four times ; and 
had Elinor's memory been equal to her means of improvement, 
she might have known, very early in her acquaintance, all the 
particulars of Mr. Jennings's last illness, and what he said to 
his wife a few minutes before he died. Lady Middleton was 
more agreeable than her mother only in being more silent. 
Elinor needed little observation to perceive that her reserve 

4 6 


was a mere calmness of manner, with which sense had nothing 
to do. Towards her husband and mother she was the same 
as to them ; and intimacy was, therefore, neither to be looked 
for nor desired. She had nothing to say one day that she had 
not said the day before. Her insipidity was invariable, for 
even her spirits were always the same ; and though she did 
not oppose the parties arranged by her husband, provided 
everything were conducted in style, and her two eldest children 
attended her, she never appeared to receive more enjoyment 
from them than she might have experienced in sitting at home ; 
and so little did her presence add to the pleasure of the others, 
by any share in their conversation, that they were sometimes 
only reminded of her being amongst them by her solicitude 
about her troublesome boys. 

In Colonel Brandon alone, of all her new acquaintance, did 
Elinor find a person who could, in any degree, claim the respect 
of abilities, excite the interest of friendship, or give pleasure 
as a companion. Willoughby was out of the question. Her 
admiration and regard, even her sisterly regard, was all his 
own ; but he was a lover ; his attentions were wholly 
Marianne's, and a far less agreeable man might have been 
more generally pleasing. Colonel Brandon, unfortunately for 
himself, had no such encouragement to think only of Marianne, 
and in conversing with Elinor he found the greatest consolation 
for the total indifference of her sister. 

Elinor's compassion for him increased, as she had reason 
to suspect that the misery of disappointed love had already 
been known to him. This suspicion was given by some words 
which accidentally dropped from him one evening at the Park, 
when they were sitting down together by mutual consent, while 
the others were dancing. His eyes were fixed on Marianne, 
and after a silence of some minutes, he said, with a faint smile, 
'Your sister, I understand, does not approve of second 

c No,' replied Elinor, c her opinions are all romantic.' 

1 Or rather, as I believe, she considers them impossible to 

* I believe she does. But how she contrives it without 
reflecting on the character of her own father, who had himself 
two wives, I know not. A few years, however, will settle her 
opinions on the reasonable basis of common sense and observa- 



tion ; and then they may be more easy to define and to justify 
than they now are, by anybody but herself.' 

4 This will probably be the case, 3 he replied ; ' and yet there 
is something so amiable in the prejudices of a young mind, 
that one is sorry to see them give way to the reception of more 
general opinions.' 

' I cannot agree with you there,' said Elinor. ' There are 
inconveniences attending such feelings as Marianne's which 
all the charms of enthusiasm and ignorance of the world can- 
not atone for. Her systems have all the unfortunate tendency 
of setting propriety at nought ; and a better acquaintance with 
the world is what I look forward to as her greatest possible 

After a short pause he resumed the conversation by 
saying — 

'Does your sister make no distinction in her objections 
against a second attachment ? or is it equally criminal in 
everybody ? Are those who have been disappointed in their 
first choice, whether from the inconstancy of its object or the 
perverseness of circumstances, to be equally indifferent during 
the rest of their lives ? ' 

' Upon my word I am not acquainted with the minutiae of 
her principles. I only know that I never yet heard her admit 
any instance of a second attachment being pardonable.' 

' This,' said he, ' cannot hold ; but a change, a total change 
of sentiments — No, no, do not desire it; for when the 
romantic refinements of a young mind are obliged to give way, 
how frequently are they succeeded by such opinions as are but 
too common and too dangerous ! I speak from experience. 
I once knew a lady who in temper and mind greatly resembled 
your sister, who thought and judged like her, but who from an en- 
forced change — from a series of unfortunate circumstances ' 

Here he stopped suddenly ; appeared to think that he had 
said too much, and by his countenance gave rise to conjec- 
tures which might not otherwise have entered Elinor's head. 
The lady would probably have passed without suspicion had 
he not convinced Miss Dashwood that what concerned her 
ought not to escape his lips. As it was, it required but a slight 
effort of fancy to connect his emotion with the tender recollec- 
tion of past regard. Elinor attempted no more. But Marianne, 
in her place, would not have done so little. The whole story 

4 8 


would have been speedily formed under her active imagination, 
and everything established in the most melancholy order of 
disastrous love. 


As Elinor and Marianne were walking together the next morn- 
ing, the latter communicated a piece of news to her sister, 
which, in spite of all that she knew before of Marianne's 
imprudence and want of thought, surprised her by its ex- 
travagant testimony of both. Marianne told her, with the 
greatest delight, that Willoughby had given her a horse, one 
that he had bred himself on his estate in Somersetshire, and 
which was exactly calculated to carry a woman. Without 
considering that it was not in her mother's plan to keep any 
horse — that if she were to alter her resolution in favour of this 
gift, she must buy another for the servant, and keep a servant 
to ride it, and after all, build a stable to receive them — she 
had accepted the present without hesitation, and told her sister 
of it in raptures. 

1 He intends to send his groom into Somersetshire im- 
mediately for it,' she added, ( and when it arrives we will ride 
every day. You shall share its use with me. Imagine to 
yourself, my dear Elinor, the delight of a gallop on some of 
these downs.' 

Most unwilling was she to awaken from such a dream of 
felicity to comprehend all the unhappy truths which attended 
the affair, and for some time she refused to submit to them. 
As to an additional servant, the expense would be a trifle ; 
mamma, she was sure, would never object to it ; and any horse 
would do for him; he might always get one at the Park ; as 
to a stable, the merest shed would be sufficient. Elinor then 
ventured to doubt the propriety of her receiving such a present 
from a man so little, or at least so lately, known to her. This 
was too much. 

* You are mistaken, Elinor,' said she warmly, ' in supposing 
I know very little of Willoughby. I have not known him long, 
indeed ; but I am much better acquainted with him than I am 
E 49 


with any other creature in the world, except yourself and 
mamma. It is not time or opportunity that is to determine 
intimacy; it is disposition alone. Seven years would be 
insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, 
and seven days are more than enough for others. I should 
hold myself guilty of greater impropriety in accepting a horse 
from my brother than from Willoughby. Of John I know 
very little, though we have lived together for years; but of 
Willoughby my judgment has long been formed.' 

Elinor thought it wisest to touch that point no more. She 
knew her sister's temper. Opposition on so tender a subject 
would only attach her the more to her own opinion. But by 
an appeal to her affection for her mother, by representing the 
inconveniences which that indulgent mother must draw on 
herself, if (as would probably be the case) she consented to 
this increase of establishment, Marianne was shortly subdued ; 
and she promised not to tempt her mother to such imprudent 
kindness by mentioning the offer, and to tell Willoughby, when 
she saw him next, that it must be declined. 

She was faithful to her word ; and when Willoughby called 
at the cottage the same day, Elinor heard her express her 
disappointment to him in a low voice on being obliged to 
forgo the acceptance of his present. The reasons for this 
alteration were at the same time related, and they were such 
as to make further entreaty on his side impossible. His con- 
cern, however, was very apparent ; and after expressing it 
with earnestness, he added, in the same low voice, 'But, 
Marianne, the horse is still yours, though you cannot use it 
now. I shall keep it only till you can claim it. When you 
leave Barton to form your own establishment in a more lasting 
home, Queen Mab shall receive you.' 

This was all overheard by Miss Dash wood ; and in the 
whole of the sentence, in his manner of pronouncing it, and in 
his addressing her sister by her Christian name alone, she 
instantly saw an intimacy so decided, a meaning so direct, 
as marked a perfect agreement between them. From that 
moment she doubted not of their being engaged to each other ; 
and the belief of it created no other surprise than that she, or 
any of their friends, should be left, by tempers so frank, to 
discover it by accident. 

Margaret related something to her the next day, which 



placed this matter in a still clearer light. Willoughby had 
spent the preceding evening with them ; and Margaret, by 
being left some time in the parlour with only him and Mari- 
anne, had had opportunity for observations, which, with a 
most important face, she communicated to her eldest sister, 
when they were next by themselves. 

* Oh, Elinor ! ' she cried, * I have such a secret to tell you 
about Marianne. I am sure she will be married to Mr. 
Willoughby very soon.' 

4 You have said so/ replied Elinor, l almost every day since 
they first met on Highchurch Down ; and they had not known 
each other a week, I believe, before you were certain that 
Marianne wore his picture round her neck ; but it turned out 
to be only the miniature of our great-uncle.' 

'But, indeed, this is quite another thing. I am sure they 
will be married very soon, for he has got a lock of her hair.' 

< Take care, Margaret. It may be only the hair of some 
great-uncle of MsJ 

'But, indeed, Elinor, it is Marianne's. I am almost sure 
it is, for I saw him cut it off. Last night, after tea, when you 
and mamma went out of the room, they were whispering and 
talking together as fast as could be, and he seemed to be 
begging something of her, and presently he took up her 
scissors and cut off a long lock of her hair, for it was all 
tumbled down her back ; and he kissed it, and folded it up in 
a piece of white paper, and put it into his pocket-book.' 

From such particulars, stated on such authority, Elinor 
could not withhold her credit ; nor was she disposed to it, for 
the circumstance was in perfect unison with what she had 
heard and seen herself 

Margaret's sagacity was not always displayed in a way so 
satisfactory to her sister. When Mrs. Jennings attacked her 
one evening at the Park, to give the name of the young man 
who' was Elinor's particular favourite, which had been long a 
matter of great curiosity to her, Margaret answered by looking 
at her sister, and saying, * I must not tell, may I, Elinor ? ' 

This of course made everybody laugh, and Elinor tried to 
laugh too. But the effort was painful. She was convinced 
that Margaret had fixed on a person whose name she could 
not bear with composure to become a standing joke with Mrs. 


He cut off a long lock of her hair. 


Marianne felt for her most sincerely ; but she did more 
harm than good to the cause by turning very red and saying 
in an angry manner to Margaret — 

4 Remember that, whatever your conjectures may be, you 
have no right to repeat them.' 

* I never had any conjectures about it,' replied Margaret ; 
* it was you who told me of it yourself.' 

This increased the mirth of the company, and Margaret 
was eagerly pressed to say something more. 

* Oh, pray, Miss Margaret, let us know all about it,' said 
Mrs. Jennings. ' What is the gentleman's name ? ' 

' I must not tell, ma'am. But I know very well what it is ; 
and I know where he is too.' 

* Yes, yes, we can guess where he is ; at his own house at 
Norland, to be sure. He is the curate of the parish, I dare- 

' No, that he is not. He is of no profession at all.' 

' Margaret,' said Marianne, with great warmth, ' you know 
that all this is an invention of your own, and that there is no 
such person in existence.' 

'Well, then, he is lately dead, Marianne, for I am sure 
there was such a man once, and his name begins with an F.' 

Most grateful did Elinor feel to Lady Middleton for observ- 
ing, at this moment, that 'it rained very hard,' though she 
believed the interruption to proceed less from any attention to 
her, than from her ladyship's great dislike of all such inelegant 
subjects of raillery as delighted her husband and mother. 
The idea, however, started by her, was immediately pursued 
by Colonel Brandon, who was on every occasion mindful of 
the feelings of others ; and much was said on the subject of 
rain by both of them. Willoughby opened the pianoforte, and 
asked Marianne to sit down to it ; and thus, amidst the various 
endeavours of different people to quit the topic, it fell to the 
ground. But not so easily did Elinor recover from the alarm 
into which it had thrown her. 

A party was formed this evening for going on the following 
day to see a very fine place about twelve miles from Barton, 
belonging to a brother-in-law of Colonel Brandon, without 
whose interest it could not be seen, as the proprietor, who was 
then abroad, had left strict orders on that head. The grounds 
were declared to be highly beautiful ; and Sir John, who was 



particularly warm in their praise, might be allowed to be a 
tolerable judge, for he had formed parties to visit them at least 
twice every summer for the last ten years. They contained a 
noble piece of water — a sail on which was to form a great part 
of the morning's amusement ; cold provisions were to be 
taken, open carriages only to be employed, and everything 
conducted in the usual style of a complete party of pleasure. 

To some few of the company it appeared rather a bold 
undertaking, considering the time of year, and that it had 
rained every day for the last fortnight ; and Mrs. Dashwood, 
who had already a cold, was persuaded by Elinor to stay at 


Their intended excursion to Whitwell turned out very differ- 
ently from what Elinor had expected. She was prepared to 
be wet through, fatigued, and frightened ; but the event was 
still more unfortunate, for they did not go at all. 

By ten o'clock the whole party were assembled at the Park, 
where they were to breakfast. The morning was rather 
favourable, though it had rained all night, as the clouds were 
then dispersing across the sky, and the sun frequently 
appeared. They were all in high spirits and good humour, 
eager to be happy, and determined to submit to the greatest 
inconveniences and hardships rather than be otherwise. 

While they were at breakfast the letters were brought in. 
Among the rest there was one for Colonel Brandon : — he took 
it, looked at the direction, changed colour, and immediately 
left the room. 

1 What is the matter with Brandon ? ' said Sir John. 

Nobody could tell. 

* I hope he has had no bad news,' said Lady Middleton. 
' It must be something extraordinary that could make Colonel 
Brandon leave my breakfast-table so suddenly.' 

In about five minutes he returned. 

'No bad news, Colonel, I hope?' said Mrs. Jennings, as 
soon as he entered the room. 

( None at all, ma'am, I thank you.' 



{ Was it from Avignon ? I hope it is not to say that your 
sister is worse ? ' 

' No, ma'am. It came from town, and is merely a letter of 

{ But how came the hand to discompose you so much, if it 
was only a letter of business ? Come, come, this won't do, 
Colonel ; so let us hear the truth of it.' 

{ My dear madam,' said Lady Middleton, ' recollect what 
you are saying.' 

c Perhaps it is to tell you that your cousin Fanny is 
married ? ' said Mrs. Jennings, without attending to her 
daughter's reproof. 

' No, indeed, it is not.' 

i Well, then, I know who it is from, Colonel. And I hope 
she is well.' 

c Whom do you mean, ma'am ? ' said he, colouring a little. 

I Oh ! you know who I mean.' 

' I am particularly sorry, ma'am,' said he, addressing Lady 
Middleton, * that I should receive this letter to-day, for it is on 
business which requires my immediate attendance in town.' 

' In town ! ' cried Mrs. Jennings. { What can you have to 
do in town at this time of year ? ' 

c My own loss is great,' he continued, ' in being obliged to 
leave so agreeable a party ; but I am the more concerned as I 
fear my presence is necessary to gain your admittance at 

What a blow upon them all was this 1 

' But if you write a note to the housekeeper, Mr. Brandon,' 
said Marianne eagerly, ' will it not be sufficient ? ' 

He shook his head. 

{ We must go,' said Sir John. ' It shall not be put off 
when we are so near it. You cannot go to town till to- 
morrow, Brandon, that is all.' 

e I wish it could be so easily settled. But it is not in my 
power to delay my journey for one day ! ' 

6 If you would but let us know what your business is,' said 
Mrs. Jennings, ' we might see whether it could be put off or 

'You would not be six hours later,' said Willoughby, 'if 
you were to defer your journey till our return.' 

I I cannot afford to lose one hour.' 



Elinor then heard Willoughby say, in a low voice to 
Marianne, ' There are some people who cannot bear a party 
of pleasure. Brandon is one of them. He was afraid of 
catching cold, I daresay, and invented this trick for getting 
out of it. I would lay fifty guineas the letter was of his own 

* I have no doubt of it,' replied Marianne. 

'There is no persuading you to change your mind, 
Brandon, I know of old/ said Sir John, 'when once you are 
determined on anything. But, however, I hope you will think 
better of it. Consider — here are the two Miss Careys come 
over from Newton, the three Miss Dash woods walked up from 
the cottage, and Mr. Willoughby got up two hours before his 
usual time, on purpose to go to Whit well.' 

Colonel Brandon again repeated his sorrow at being the 
cause of disappointing the party, but at the same time declared 
it to be unavoidable. 

' Well, then, when will you come back again ? ' 

' 1 hope we shall see you at Barton/ added her ladyship, 
' as soon as you can conveniently leave town ; and we must 
put off the party to Whitwell till you return. ' 

'You are very obliging. But it is so uncertain when I 
may have it in my power to return, that I dare not engage for 
it at all.' 

' Oh, he must and shall come back,' cried Sir John. ' If 
he is not here by the end of the week, I shall go after him.' 

'Ay, so do, Sir John/ cried Mrs. Jennings, 'and then 
perhaps you may find out what his business is.' 

' I do not want to pry into other men's concerns. I sup- 
pose it is something he is ashamed of.' 

Colonel Brandon's horses were announced. 

' You do not go to town on horseback, do you ? ' added Sir 

' No. Only to Honiton. I shall then go post. 5 

'Well, as you are resolved to go, I wish you a good 
journey. But you had better change your mind.' 

' I assure you it is not in my power.' 

He then took leave of the whole party. 

' Is there no chance of my seeing you and your sisters in 
town this winter, Miss Dashwood ? ' 

' I am afraid none at all.' 



'Then I must bid you farewell for a longer time than I 
should wish to do.' 

To Marianne he merely bowed and said nothing. 

' Come, Colonel,' said Mrs. Jennings, ' before you go do let 
us know what you are going about.' 

He wished her a good morning, and, attended by Sir John, 
left the room. 

The complaints and lamentations which politeness had 
hitherto restrained now burst forth universally ; and they all 
agreed again and again how provoking it was to be so dis- 

* I can guess what his business is, however,' said Mrs. 
Jennings exultingly. 

* Can you, ma'am ? ' said almost everybody. 

* Yes ; it is about Miss Williams, I am sure.' 

* And who is Miss Williams ? ' asked Marianne. 

'What! do not you know who Miss Williams is? I am 
sure you must have heard of her before. She is a relation of 
the Colonel's, my dear ; a very near relation. We will not 
say how near, for fear of shocking the young ladies.' Then 
lowering her voice a little, she said to Elinor, 'She is his 
natural daughter.' 

< Indeed ! ' 

' Oh yes ; and as like him as she can stare. I daresay the 
Colonel will leave her all his fortune.' 

When Sir John returned, he joined most heartily in the 
general regret on so unfortunate an event ; concluding, how- 
ever, by observing, that as they were all got together, they 
must do something by way of being happy; and after some 
consultation it was agreed, that although happiness could only 
be enjoyed at Whitwell, they might procure a tolerable com- 
posure of mind by driving about the country. The carriages 
were then ordered ; Willoughby's was first, and Marianne 
never looked happier than when she got into it. He drove 
through the park very fast, and they were soon out of sight ; 
and nothing more, of them was seen till their return, which did 
not happen till after the return of all the rest. They both 
seemed delighted with their drive ; but said only in general 
terms that they had kept in the lanes, while the others went 
on the downs. 

It was settled that there should be a dance in the evening, 



and that everybody should be extremely merry all day long. 
Some more of the Careys came to dinner ; and they had the 
pleasure of sitting down nearly twenty to table, which Sir John 
observed with great contentment. Willoughby took his usual 
place between the two elder Miss Dashwoods. Mrs. Jennings 
sat on Elinor's right hand ; and they had not been long seated, 
before she leant behind her and Willoughby, and said to 
Marianne, loud enough for them both to hear, * I have found 
you out in spite of all your tricks. I know where you spent 
the morning.' 

Marianne coloured, and replied very hastily, * Where, pray ? ' 

1 Did not you know,' said Willoughby, ' that we had been 
out in my curricle ? ' 

4 Yes, yes, Mr. Impudence, I know that very well, and I 
was determined to find out where you had been to. I hope 
you like your house, Miss Marianne. It is a very large one, 
I know ; and when I come to see you, I hope you will have 
new furnished it, for it wanted it very much when I was there 
six years ago.' 

Marianne turned away in great confusion. Mrs. Jennings 
laughed heartily ; and Elinor found that in her resolution to 
know where they had been, she had actually made her own 
woman inquire of Mr. Willoughby's groom ; and that she had 
by that method been informed that they had gone to Allenham, 
and spent a considerable time there in walking about the 
garden, and going all over the house. 

Elinor could hardly believe this to be true ; as it seemed 
very unlikely that Willoughby should propose, or Marianne 
consent, to enter the house while Mrs. Smith was in it, with 
whom Marianne had not the smallest acquaintance. 

As soon as they left the dining-room, Elinor inquired of 
her about it ; and great was her surprise when she found that 
every circumstance related by Mrs. Jennings was perfectly true. 
Marianne was quite angry with her for doubting it. 

'Why should you imagine, Elinor, that we did not go 
there, or that we did not see the house ? Is not it what you 
have often wished to do yourself?' 

' Yes, Marianne, but I would not go while Mrs. Smith was 
there, and with no other companion than Mr. Willoughby.' 

'Mr. Willoughby, however, is the only person who can 
have a right to show that house : and as he went in an open 


' / have found you out in spite of all your tricks* 


carriage, it was impossible to have any other companion. I 
never spent a pleasanter morning in my life.* 

'I am afraid,' replied Elinor, 'that the pleasantness of an 
employment does not always evince its propriety.' 

'On the contrary, nothing can be a stronger proof of it, 
Elinor ; for if there had been any real impropriety in what I 
did, I should have been sensible of it at the time, for we 
always know when we are acting wrong, and with such a 
conviction I could have had no pleasure.' 

( But, my dear Marianne, as it has already exposed you to 
some very impertinent remarks, do you not now begin to doubt 
the discretion of your own conduct ? ' 

1 If the impertinent remarks of Mrs. Jennings are to be the 
proof of impropriety in conduct, we are all offending every 
moment of our lives. I value not her censure any more than 
I should do her commendation. I am not sensible of having 
done anything wrong in walking over Mrs. Smith's grounds, or 
in seeing her house. They will one day be Mr. Willoughby's, 
and ' 

( If they were one day to be your own, Marianne, you would 
not be justified in what you have done.' 

She blushed at this hint ; but it was even visibly gratifying 
to her ; and after a ten minutes' interval of earnest thought, 
she came to her sister again, and said with great good humour, 
* Perhaps, Elinor, it was rather ill-judged in me to go to 
Allenham; but Mr. Willoughby wanted particularly to show 
me the place ; and it is a charming house, I assure you. There 
is one remarkably pretty sitting-room upstairs, of a nice 
comfortable size for constant use, and with modern furniture it 
would be delightful. It is a corner room, and has windows on 
two sides. On one side you look across the bowling-green, 
behind the house, to a beautiful hanging wood, and on the 
other you have a view of the church and village, and, beyond 
them, of those fine bold hills that we have so often admired. 
I did not see it to advantage, for nothing could be more 
forlorn than the furniture ; but if it were newly fitted up — a 
couple of hundred pounds, Willoughby says, would make it 
one of the pleasantest summer-rooms in England.' 

Could Elinor have listened to her without interruption from 
the others, she would have described every room in the house 
with equal delight. 




The sudden termination of Colonel Brandon's visit at the 
Park, with his steadiness in concealing its cause, filled the 
mind, and raised the wonder, of Mrs. Jennings for two or 
three days : she was a great wonderer, as every one must be 
who takes a very lively interest in all the comings and goings 
of all their acquaintance. She wondered, with little inter- 
mission, what could be the reason of it ; was sure there must 
be some bad news, and thought over every kind of distress 
that could have befallen him, with a fixed determination that 
he should not escape them all. 

1 Something very melancholy must be the matter, I am 
sure,' said she. ( I could see it in his face. Poor man ! I am 
afraid his circumstances may be bad. The estate at Delaford 
was never reckoned more than two thousand a year, and his 
brother left everything sadly involved. I do think he must 
have been sent for about money matters, for what else can it 
be ? I wonder whether it is so. I would give anything to 
know the truth of it. Perhaps it is about Miss Williams — 
and, by the bye, I daresay it is, because he looked so conscious 
when I mentioned her. Maybe she is ill in town ; nothing in 
the world more likely, for I have a notion she is always rather 
sickly. I would lay any wager it is about Miss Williams. It 
is not so very likely he should be distressed in his circum- 
stances now, for he is a very prudent man, and to be sure 
must have cleared the estate by this time. I wonder what it 
can be ! Maybe his sister is worse at Avignon, and has sent 
for him over. His setting off in such a hurry seems very like 
it. Well, I wish him out of all his trouble, with all my heart, 
and a good wife into the bargain.' 

So wondered, so talked Mrs. Jennings ; her opinion varying 
with every fresh conjecture, and all seeming equally probable 
as they arose. Elinor, though she felt really interested in the 
welfare of Colonel Brandon, could not bestow all the wonder 
on his going so suddenly away which Mrs. Jennings was 
desirous of her feeling ; for, besides that the circumstance did 
not, in her opinion, justify such lasting amazement or variety 



of speculation, her wonder was otherwise disposed of. It was 
engrossed by the extraordinary silence of her sister and 
Willoughby on the subject which they must know to be 
peculiarly interesting to them all. As this silence continued, 
every day made it appear more strange and more incompatible 
with the disposition of both. Why they should not openly 
acknowledge to her mother and herself what their constant 
behaviour to each other declared to have taken place, Elinor 
could not imagine. 

She could easily conceive that marriage might not be im- 
mediately in their power ; for though Willoughby was inde- 
pendent, there was no reason to believe him rich. His estate 
had been rated by Sir John at about six or seven hundred a 
year ; but he lived at an expense to which that income could 
hardly be equal, and he had himself often complained of his 
poverty. But for this strange kind of secrecy, maintained by 
them relative to their engagement, which, in fact, concealed 
nothing at all, she could not account ; and it was so wholly 
contradictory to their general opinions and practice, that a 
doubt sometimes entered her mind of their being really en- 
gaged, and this doubt was enough to prevent her making any 
inquiry of Marianne. 

Nothing could be more expressive of attachment to them 
all than Willoughby's behaviour. To Marianne it had all the 
distinguishing tenderness which a lover's heart could give, and 
to the rest of the family it was the affectionate attention of a 
son and a brother. The cottage seemed to be considered and 
loved by him as his home ; many more of his hours were spent 
there than at Allenham ; and if no general engagement col- 
lected them at the Park, the exercise which called him out in 
the morning was almost certain of ending there, where the rest 
of the day was spent by himself at the side of Marianne, and 
by his favourite pointer at her feet. 

One evening in particular, about a week after Colonel 
Brandon had left the country, his heart seemed more than 
usually open to every feeling of attachment to the objects 
around him ; and on Mrs. Dashwood's happening to mention 
her design of improving the cottage in the spring, he warmly 
opposed every alteration of a place which affection had estab- 
lished as perfect with him. 

4 What ! ) he exclaimed, * improve this dear cottage ! No, 


That I will never consent to. Not a stone must be added 
to its walls, not an inch to its size, if my feelings are regarded.' 

'Do not be alarmed,' said Miss Dashwood, * nothing of 
the kind will be done ; for my mother will never have money 
enough to attempt it.' 

' 1 am heartily glad of it,' he cried. * May she always be 
poor, if she can employ her riches no better.' 

* Thank you, Willoughby. But you may be assured that I 
would not sacrifice one sentiment of local attachment of yours, 
or of any one whom I loved, for all the improvements in the 
world. Depend upon it, that whatever unemployed sum may 
remain, when I make up my accounts in the spring, I would 
even rather lay it uselessly by than dispose of it in a manner 
so painful to you. But are you really so attached to this place 
as to see no defect in it ? ' 

' 1 am,' said he. ' To me it is faultless. Nay, more, I 
consider it as the only form of building in which happiness 
is attainable, and were I rich enough I would instantly pull 
Combe down, and build it up again in the exact plan of this 

'With dark narrow stairs, and a kitchen that smokes, I 
suppose,' said Elinor. 

'Yes,' cried he, in the same eager tone, 'with all and every- 
thing belonging to it — in no one convenience or inconvenience 
about it should the least variation be perceptible. Then and 
then only, under such a roof, I might perhaps be as happy at 
Combe as I have been at Barton.' 

' I flatter myself,' replied Elinor, ' that even under the dis- 
advantage of better rooms and a broader staircase, you will 
hereafter find your own house as faultless as you now do this.' 

'There certainly are circumstances,' said Willoughby 
' which might greatly endear it to me ; but this place will 
always have one claim on my affection, which no other can 
possibly share.' 

Mrs. Dashwood looked with pleasure at Marianne, whose 
fine eyes were fixed so expressively on Willoughby as plainly 
denoted how well she understood him. 

' How often did I wish,' added he, ' when I was at 
Allenham, this time twelvemonth, that Barton Cottage were 
inhabited ! I never passed within view of it without admiring 
its situation, and grieving that no one should live in it. How 



little did I then think that the very first news I should hear 
from Mrs. Smith, when I next came into the country, would 
be that Barton Cottage was taken ; and I felt an immediate 
satisfaction and interest in the event, which nothing but a kind 
of prescience of what happiness I should experience from it 
can account for. Must it not have been so, Marianne?' 
speaking to her in a lowered voice. Then continuing his 
former tone, he said, 'And yet this house you would spoil, 
Mrs. Dashwood ? You would rob it of its simplicity by 
imaginary improvement ! and this dear parlour in which our 
acquaintance first began, and in which so many happy hours 
have been since spent by us together, you would degrade to 
the condition of a common entrance, and everybody would be 
eager to pass through the room which has hitherto contained 
within itself more real accommodation and comfort than any 
other apartment of the handsomest dimensions in the world 
could possibly afford.' 

Mrs. Dashwood again assured him that no alteration of the 
kind should be attempted. 

'You are a good woman,' he warmly replied. 'Your 
promise makes me easy. Extend it a little further, and it 
will make me happy. Tell me that not only your house will 
remain the same, but that I shall ever find you and yours as 
unchanged as your dwelling ; and that you will always con- 
sider me with the kindness which has made everything belong- 
ing to you so dear to me.' 

The promise was readily given, and Willoughby's behaviour 
during the whole of the evening declared at once his affection 
and happiness. 

' Shall we see you to-morrow to dinner ? ' said Mrs. Dash- 
wood, when he was leaving them. ' I do not ask you to come 
in the morning, for we must walk to the Park, to call on Lady 

He engaged to be with them by four o'clock. 

6 4 



Mrs. DASHWOOD'S visit to Lady Middleton took place the 
next day, and two of her daughters went with her ; but 
Marianne excused herself from being of the party, under some 
trifling pretext of employment ; and her mother, who concluded 
that a promise had been made by Willoughby the night before 
of calling on her while they were absent, was perfectly satisfied 
with her remaining at home. 

On their return from the Park they found Willoughby's 
curricle and servant in waiting at the cottage, and Mrs. Dash- 
wood was convinced that her conjecture had been just. So 
far it was all as she had foreseen ; but on entering the house 
she beheld what no foresight had taught her to expect. They 
were no sooner in the passage than Marianne came hastily 
out of the parlour apparently in violent affliction, with her 
handkerchief at her eyes, and, without noticing them, ran up- 
stairs. Surprised and alarmed, they proceeded directly into 
the room she had just quitted, where they found only 
Willoughby, who was leaning against the mantelpiece with 
his back towards them. He turned round on their coming in, 
and his countenance showed that he strongly partook of the 
emotion which overpowered Marianne. 

c Is anything the matter with her ? ' cried Mrs. Dashwood 
as she entered : — * is she ill ? ' 

* I hope not,' he replied, trying to look cheerful ; and with 
a forced smile presently added, ' It is I who may rather expect 
to be ill — for I am now suffering under a very heavy dis- 
appointment ! ; 

' Disappointment 1 ' 

* Yes, for I am unable to keep my engagement with you. 
Mrs. Smith has this morning exercised the privilege of riches 
upon a poor dependent cousin, by sending me on business to 
London. I have just received my despatches, and taken my 
farewell of Allenham ; and by way of exhilaration I am now 
come to take my farewell of you.' 

' To London ! — and are you going this morning ? ' 
1 Almost this moment.' 

F 65 

Apparently in violent affliction. 


'This is very unfortunate. But Mrs. Smith must be 
obliged, and her business will not detain you from us long, I 
hope ? ' 

He coloured as he replied, ' You are very kind ; but I have 
no idea of returning into Devonshire immediately. My visits 
to Mrs. Smith are never repeated within the twelvemonth.' 

4 And is Mrs. Smith your only friend ? Is Allenham the 
only house in the neighbourhood to which you will be wel- 
come ? For shame, Willoughby ; can you wait for an invita- 
tion here ? ' 

His colour increased ; and, with his eyes fixed on the 
ground, he only replied, * You are too good.' 

Mrs. Dashwood looked at Elinor with surprise. Elinor 
felt equal amazement. For a few moments every one was 
silent. Mrs. Dashwood first spoke. 

* I have only to add, my dear Willoughby, that at Barton 
Cottage you will always be welcome ; for I will not press you 
to return here immediately, because you only can judge how 
far that might be pleasing to Mrs. Smith ; and on this head I 
shall be no more disposed to question your judgment than to 
doubt your inclination.' 

* My engagements at present,' replied Willoughby, con- 
fusedly, 'are of such a nature — that — I dare not flatter 
myself ' 

He stopped. Mrs. Dashwood was too much astonished to 
speak, and another pause succeeded. This was broken by 
Willoughby, who said, with a faint smile, ' It is folly to linger 
in this manner. I will not torment myself any longer by re- 
maining among friends whose society it is impossible for me 
now to enjoy.' 

He then hastily took leave of them all, and left the room. 
They saw him step into his carriage, and in a minute it was out 
of sight. 

Mrs. Dashwood felt too much for speech, and instantly 
quitted the parlour to give way in solitude to the concern and 
alarm which this sudden departure occasioned. 

Elinor's uneasiness was at least equal to her mother's. 
She thought of what had just passed with anxiety and distrust. 
Willoughby's behaviour in taking leave of them, his embarrass- 
ment, and affectation of cheerfulness, and, above all, his un- 
willingness to accept her mother's invitation — a backwardness 

6 7 


so unlike a lover, so unlike himself — greatly disturbed her. 
One moment she feared that no serious design had ever been 
formed on his side, and the next that some unfortunate quarrel 
had taken place between him and her sister. The distress in 
which Marianne had quitted the room was such as a serious 
quarrel could most reasonably account for, though, when she 
considered what Marianne's love for him was, a quarrel seemed 
almost impossible. 

But whatever might be the particulars of their separation, 
her sister's affliction was indubitable ; and she thought with 
the tenderest compassion of that violent sorrow which Mari- 
anne was in all probability not merely giving way to as a relief, 
but feeding and encouraging as a duty. 

In about half an hour her mother returned, and though her 
eyes were red, her countenance was not uncheerful. 

'Our dear Willoughby is now some miles from Barton, 
Elinor,' said she, as she sat down to work, 'and with how 
heavy a heart does he travel ! ' 

* It is all very strange. So suddenly to be gone ! It seems 
but the work of a moment. And last night he was with us so 
happy, so cheerful, so affectionate ! And now, after only ten 
minutes' notice, — gone, too, without intending to return ! 
Something more than what he owned to us must have 
happened. He did not speak, he did not behave, like himself. 
You must have seen the difference as well as I. What can 
it be ? Can they have quarrelled ? Why else should he have 
shown such unwillingness to accept your invitation here ? ' 

4 It was not inclination that he wanted, Elinor ; I could 
plainly see that. He had not the power of accepting it. I 
have thought it all over, I assure you, and I can perfectly 
account for everything that at first seemed strange to me as 
well as to you.' 

' Can you, indeed ? ' 

'Yes. I have explained it to myself in the most satis- 
factory way ; but you, Elinor, who love to doubt where you 
can — it will not satisfy you, I know ; but you shall not talk 
me out of my trust in it. I am persuaded that Mrs. Smith 
suspects his regard for Marianne, disapproves of it (perhaps 
because she has other views for him), and on that account 
is eager to get him away ; and that the business which she 
sends him off to transact is invented as an excuse to dismiss 



him. This is what I believe to have happened. He is, 
moreover, aware that she does disapprove the connection ; 
he dares not therefore at present confess to her his engage- 
ment with Marianne, and he feels himself obliged, from his 
dependent situation, to give in to her schemes, and absent 
himself from Devonshire for a while. You will tell me, I 
know, that this may or may not have happened ; but I will 
listen to no cavil, unless you can point out any other method 
of understanding the affair as satisfactory as this. And now, 
Elinor, what have you to say ? ' 

' Nothing, for you have anticipated my answer.' 

* Then you would have told me that it might or might not 
have happened. Oh, Elinor, how incomprehensible are your 
feelings ! You had rather take evil upon credit than good. 
You had rather look out for misery for Marianne, and guilt 
for poor Willoughby, than an apology for the latter. You 
are resolved to think him blamable, because he took leave of 
us with less affection than his usual behaviour has shown. 
And is no allowance to be made for inadvertence, or for spirits 
depressed by recent disappointment? Are no probabilities 
to be accepted, merely because they are not certainties ? 
Is nothing due to the man whom we have all so much reason 
to love, and no reason in the world to think ill of? — to the 
possibility of motives unanswerable in themselves, though 
unavoidably secret for a while ? And, after all, what is it you 
suspect him of? 1 

' I can hardly tell you myself. But suspicion of some- 
thing unpleasant is the inevitable consequence of such an 
alteration as we have just witnessed in him. There is great 
truth, however, in what you have now urged of the allow- 
ances which ought to be made for him, and it is my wish to 
be candid in my judgment of everybody. Willoughby may, 
undoubtedly, have very sufficient reasons for his conduct, and 
I will hope that he has. But it would have been more like 
Willoughby to acknowledge them at once. Secrecy may be 
advisable ; but still I cannot help wondering at its being prac- 
tised by him.' 

'Do not blame him, however, for departing from his 
character, where the deviation is necessary. But you really 
do admit the justice of what I have said in his defence ? — I am 
happy — and he is acquitted.' 

. 6 9 


* Not entirely. It may be proper to conceal their engage- 
ment (if they are engaged) from Mrs. Smith ; and if that is the 
case, it must be highly expedient for Willoughby to be but 
little in Devonshire at present. But this is no excuse for their 
concealing it from us.' 

' Concealing it from us ! my dear child, do you accuse 
Willoughby and Marianne of concealment ? This is strange 
indeed, when your eyes have been reproaching them every 
day for incautiousness.' 

' I want no proof of their affection,' said Elinor, * but of their 
engagement I do.' 

{ I am perfectly satisfied of both.' 

£ Yet not a syllable has been said to you on the subject by 
either of them.' 

* I have not wanted syllables where actions have spoken so 
plainly. Has not his behaviour to Marianne and to all of us, 
for at least the last fortnight, declared that he loved and 
considered her as his future wife, and that he felt for us the 
attachment of the nearest relation? Have we not perfectly 
understood each other? Has not my consent been daily 
asked by his looks, his manner, his attentive and affectionate 
respect ? My Elinor, is it possible to doubt their engagement ? 
How could such a thought occur to you ? How is it to be 
supposed that Willoughby, persuaded as he must be of your 
sister's love, should leave her, and leave her perhaps for months, 
without telling her of his affection, — that they should part 
without a mutual exchange of confidence ? ' 

* I confess,' replied Elinor, i that every circumstance, ex- 
cept one, is in favour of their engagement ; but that one is the 
total silence of both on the subject, and with me it almost 
outweighs every other.' 

4 How strange this is ! You must think wretchedly indeed of 
Willoughby, if, after all that has openly passed between them, 
you can doubt the nature of the terms on which they are together. 
Has he been acting a part in his behaviour to your sister all 
this time ? Do you suppose him really indifferent to her ? ' 

' No, I cannot think that. He must and does love her, I 
am sure.' 

1 But with a strange kind of tenderness, if he can leave her 
with such indifference, such carelessness of the future, as you 
attribute to him.' 



6 You must remember, my dear mother, that I have never 
considered this matter as certain. I have had my doubts, I 
confess ; but they are fainter than they were, and they may 
soon be entirely done away. If we find they correspond, every 
fear of mine will be removed.' 

' A mighty concession indeed ! If you were to see them 
at the altar, you would suppose they were going to be 
married. Ungracious girl ! But / require no such proof. 
Nothing in my opinion has ever passed to justify doubt ; no 
secrecy has been attempted ; all has been uniformly open 
and unreserved. You cannot doubt your sister's wishes. It 
must be Willoughby,. therefore, whom you suspect. But why ? 
Is he not a man of honour and feeling? Has there been 
any inconsistency on his side to create alarm ? can he be 
deceitful ? ' 

c I hope not, I believe not,' cried Elinor. * I love 
Willoughby, sincerely love him ; and suspicion of his integrity 
cannot be more painful to yourself than to me. It has been 
involuntary, and I will not encourage it. I was startled, I 
confess, by the alteration in his manners this morning ; he did 
not speak like himself, and did not return your kindness with 
any cordiality. But all this may be explained by such a 
situation of his affairs as you have supposed. He had just 
parted from my sister, had seen her leave him in the greatest 
affliction ; and if he felt obliged, from a fear of offending Mrs. 
Smith, to resist the temptation of returning here soon, and yet 
aware that by declining your invitation, by saying that he was 
going away for some time, he should seem to act an ungenerous, 
a suspicious part by our family, he might well be embarrassed 
and disturbed. In such a case, a plain and open avowal of his 
difficulties would have been more to his honour, I think, as 
well as more consistent with his general character ; — but I will 
not raise objections against any one's conduct on so illiberal a 
foundation as a difference in judgment from myself, or a 
deviation from what I may think right and consistent.' 

' You speak very properly. Willoughby certainly does not 
deserve to be suspected. Though we have not known him 
long, he is no stranger in this part of the world ; and who 
has ever spoken to his disadvantage ? Had he been 
in a situation to act independently and marry immediately, 
it might have been odd that he should leave us without ac- 



knowledging everything to me at once : but this is not the 
case. It is an engagement in some respects not prosperously 
begun, for their marriage must be at a very uncertain distance ; 
and even secrecy, as far as it can be observed, may now be 
very advisable. 5 

They were interrupted by the entrance of Margaret ; and 
Elinor was then at liberty to think over the representations 
of her mother, to acknowledge the probability of many, and 
hope for the justice of all. 

They saw nothing of Marianne till dinner-time, when she 
entered the room and took her place at the table without 
saying a word. Her eyes were red and swollen ; and it 
seemed as if her tears were even then restrained with diffi- 
culty. She avoided the looks of them all, could neither eat 
nor speak, and after some time, on her mother's silently 
pressing her hand with tender compassion, her small degree of 
fortitude was quite overcome, she burst into tears, and left the 

This violent oppression of spirits continued the whole 
evening. She was without any power, because she was 
without any desire, of command over herself. The slightest 
mention of anything relative to Willoughby overpowered her 
in an instant ; and though her family were most anxiously 
attentive to her comfort, it was impossible for them, if they spoke 
at all, to keep clear of every subject which her feelings con- 
nected with him. 


Marianne would have thought herself very inexcusable had 
she been able to sleep at all the first night after parting from 
Willoughby. She would have been ashamed to look her 
family in the face the next morning, had she not risen from 
her bed in more need of repose than when she lay down in it. 
But the feelings which made such composure a disgrace left 
her in no danger of incurring it. She was awake the whole 
night, and she wept the greatest part of it. She got up with 
a headache, was unable to talk, and unwilling to take any 
nourishment ; giving pain every moment to her mother and 



sisters, and forbidding all attempt at consolation from either. 
Her sensibility was potent enough ! 

When breakfast was over she walked out by herself, and 
wandered about the village of Allenham, indulging the re- 
collection of past enjoyment and crying over the present 
reverse for the chief of the morning. 

The evening passed off in the equal indulgence of feeling. 
She played over every favourite song that she had been used 
to play to Willoughby, every air in which their voices had 
been oftenest joined, and sat at the instrument gazing on 
every line of music that he had written out for her, till her 
heart was so heavy that no further sadness could be gained ; 
and this nourishment of grief was every day applied. She 
spent whole hours at the pianoforte, alternately singing and 
crying ; her voice often totally suspended by her tears. In 
books, too, as well as in music, she courted the misery which 
a contrast between the past and present was certain of 
giving. She read nothing but what they had been used to 
read together. 

Such violence of affliction indeed could not be supported 
for ever ; it sank within a few days into a calmer melancholy ; 
but these employments, to which she daily recurred, her 
solitary walks and silent meditations, still produced occasional 
effusions of sorrow as lively as ever. 

No letter from Willoughby came ; and none seemed ex- 
pected by Marianne. Her mother was surprised, and Elinor 
again became uneasy. But Mrs. Dashwood could find explan- 
ations, whenever she wanted them, which at least satisfied 

' Remember, Elinor,' she said, c how very often Sir John 
fetches our letters himself from the post, and carries them to 
it. We have already agreed that secrecy may be necessary, 
and we must acknowledge that it could not be maintained 
if their correspondence were to pass through Sir John's 

Elinor could not deny the truth of this, and she tried to 
find in it a motive sufficient for their silence. But there was 
one method so direct, so simple, and in her opinion so eligible, 
of knowing the real state of the affair, and of instantly 
removing all mystery, that she could not help suggesting it to 
her mother. 



'Why do you not ask Marianne at once,' said she, 
' whether she is or is not engaged to Willoughby ? From you, 
her mother, and so kind, so indulgent a mother, the question 
could not give offence. It would be the natural result of your 
affection for her. She used to be all unreserve, and to you 
more especially.' 

£ I would not ask such a question for the world. Supposing 
it possible that they are not engaged, what distress would not 
such an inquiry inflict ! At any rate it would be most un- 
generous. I should never deserve her confidence again, after 
forcing from her a confession of what is meant at present to 
be unacknowledged to any one. I know Marianne's heart : 
I know that she dearly loves me, and that I shall not be the 
last to whom the affair is made known, when circumstances 
make the revealment of it eligible. I would not attempt to 
force the confidence of any one ; of a child much less ; because 
a sense of duty would prevent the denial which her wishes 
might direct.' 

Elinor thought this generosity overstrained, considering her 
sister's youth, and urged the matter further, but in vain ; 
common sense, common care, common prudence, were all 
sunk in Mrs. Dashwood's romantic delicacy. 

It was several days before Willoughby's name was men- 
tioned before Marianne by any of her family ; Sir John and 
Mrs. Jennings, indeed, were not so nice ; their witticisms 
added pain to many a painful hour; but one evening, Mrs. 
Dashwood, accidentally taking up a volume of Shakespeare, 
exclaimed — 

* We have never finished Hamlet, Marianne ; our dear 
Willoughby went away before we could get through it. We 

will put it by, that when he comes again ; but it may be 

months, perhaps, before that happens.' 

c Months ! J cried Marianne, with strong surprise. * No — 
nor many weeks. ' 

Mrs. Dashwood was sorry for what she had said \ but it 
gave Elinor pleasure, as it produced a reply from Marianne so 
expressive of confidence in Willoughby and knowledge of his 

One morning, about a week after his leaving the country, 
Marianne was prevailed on to join her sisters in their usual 
walk, instead of wandering away by herself. Hitherto she 



had carefully avoided every companion in her rambles. If 
her sisters intended to walk on the downs, she directly stole 
away towards the lanes ; if they talked of the valley, she was 
as speedy in climbing the hills, and could never be found 
when the others set off. But at length she was secured by 
the exertions of Elinor, who greatly disapproved such continual 
seclusion. They walked along the road through the valley, 
and chiefly in silence, for Marianne's mind could' not be con- 
trolled, and Elinor, satisfied with gaining one point, would not 
then attempt more. Beyond the entrance of the valley, where 
the country, though still rich, was less wild and more open, a 
long stretch of the road which they had travelled on first 
coming to Barton lay before them ; and on reaching that point 
they stopped to look around them, and examine a prospect 
which formed the distance of their view from the cottage, from 
a spot which they had never happened to reach in any of their 
walks before. 

Amongst the objects in the scene, they soon discovered an 
animated one ; it was a man on horseback riding towards 
them. In a few minutes they could distinguish him to be a 
gentleman ; and in a moment afterwards Marianne rapturously 
exclaimed — 

' It is he — it is indeed ; I know it is ! ' and was hastening 
to meet him, when Elinor cried out — 

' Indeed, Marianne, I think you are mistaken. It is not 
Willoughby. The person is not tall enough for him, and has 
not his air. 3 

' He has, he has,' cried Marianne, * I am sure he has. 
His air, his coat, his horse. I knew how soon he would 

She walked eagerly on as she spoke ; and Elinor, to screen 
Marianne from particularity, as she felt almost certain of its 
not being Willoughby, quickened her pace and kept up with 
her. They were soon within thirty yards of the gentleman. 
Marianne looked again ; her heart sank within her ; and 
abruptly turning round, she was hurrying back, when the 
voices of both her sisters were raised to detain her ; a third, 
almost as well known as Willoughby's, joined them in begging 
her to stop, and she turned round with surprise to see and 
welcome Edward Ferrars. 

He was the only person in the world who could at that 


Begging her to stop. 


moment be forgiven for not being Willoughby ; the only one 
who could have gained a smile from her ; but she dispersed 
her tears to smile on him, and in her sister's happiness forgot 
for a time her own disappointment 

He dismounted, and giving his horse to his servant, walked 
back with them to Barton, whither he was purposely coming 
to visit them. 

He was welcomed by them all with great cordiality, but 
especially by Marianne, who showed more warmth of regard 
in her reception of him than even Elinor herself. To Marianne, 
indeed, the meeting between Edward and her sister was but a 
continuation of that unaccountable coldness which she had 
observed at Norland in their mutual behaviour. On Edward's 
side, more particularly, there was a deficiency of all that a 
lover ought to look and say on such an occasion. He was 
confused, seemed scarcely sensible of pleasure in seeing them, 
looked neither rapturous nor gay, said little but what was 
forced from him by questions, and distinguished Elinor by no 
mark of affection. Marianne saw and listened with increasing 
surprise. She began almost to feel a dislike of Edward ; and 
it ended, as every feeling must end with her, by carrying back 
her thoughts to Willoughby, whose manners formed a contrast 
sufficiently striking to those of his brother-elect. 

After a short silence which succeeded the first surprise and 
inquiries of meeting, Marianne asked Edward if he came 
directly from London. No, he had been in Devonshire a 

* A fortnight ! ' she repeated, surprised at his being so 
long in the same county with Elinor without seeing her 

He looked rather distressed as he added that he had been 
staying with some friends near Plymouth. 

£ Have you been lately in Sussex ? ' said Elinor. 
1 1 was at Norland about a month ago.' 

* And how does dear, dear Norland look ? ' cried Marianne. 
'Dear, dear Norland,' said Elinor, * probably looks much 

as it always does at this time of the year — the woods and 
walks thickly covered with dead leaves.' 

* Oh,' cried Marianne, * with what transporting sensations 
have I formerly seen them fall ! How have I delighted, as I 
walked, to see them driven in showers about me by the wind ! 



What feelings have they, the season, the air altogether inspired ! 
Now there is no one to regard them. They are seen only as 
a nuisance, swept hastily off, and driven as much as possible 
from the sight/ 

* It is not everyone/ said Elinor, 'who has your passion for 
dead leaves.' 

' No ; my feelings are not often shared, not often under- 
stood. But sometimes they are.' As she said this she sank 
into a reverie for a few moments ; but rousing herself again, 
' Now, Edward,' said she, calling his attention to the prospect, 
'here is Barton valley. Look up it, and be tranquil if you 
can. Look at those hills. Did you ever see their equals ? 
To the left is Barton Park, amongst those woods and plant- 
ations. You may see the end of the house. And there, 
beneath that farthest hill, which rises with such grandeur, is 
our cottage.' 

'It is a beautiful country,' he replied ; ' but these bottoms 
must be dirty in winter.' 

' How can you think of dirt, with such objects before 

' Because,' replied he, smiling, ' among the rest of the 
objects before me I see a very dirty lane.' 

' How strange ! ' said Marianne to herself, as she walked 

' Have you an agreeable neighbourhood here ? Are the 
Middletons pleasant people ? ' 

' No, not all,' answered Marianne ; ' we could not be more 
unfortunately situated.' 

' Marianne,' cried her sister, ' how can you say so ? How 
can you be so unjust ? They are a very respectable family, 
Mr. Ferrars, and towards us have behaved in the friendliest 
manner. Have you forgot, Marianne, how many pleasant days 
we have owed to them ? ' 

' No,' said Marianne, in a low voice, ' nor how many painful 

Elinor took no notice of this ; and directing her attention 
to their visitor, endeavoured to support something like dis- 
course with him, by talking of their present residence, its 
conveniences, etc., extorting from him occasional questions 
and remarks. His coldness and reserve mortified her severely; 
she was vexed and half angry ; but resolving to regulate her 



behaviour to him by the past rather than the present, she 
avoided every appearance of resentment or displeasure, and 
treated him as she thought he ought to be treated from the 
family connection. 


Mrs. Dashwood was surprised only for a moment at seeing 
him ; for his coming to Barton was, in her opinion, of all 
things the most natural. Her joy and expressions of regard 
long outlived her wonder. He received the kindest welcome 
from her ; and shyness, coldness, reserve could not stand 
against such a reception. They had begun to fail him before 
he entered the house, and they were quite overcome by the 
captivating manners of Mrs. Dashwood. Indeed, a man could 
not very well be in love with either of her daughters, without 
extending the passion to her ; and Elinor had the satisfaction 
of seeing him soon become more like himself. His affections 
seemed to reanimate towards them all, and his interest in 
their welfare again became perceptible. He was not in spirits, 
however ; he praised their house, admired its prospect, was 
attentive and kind ; but still he was not in spirits. The whole 
family perceived it ; and Mrs. Dashwood, attributing it to some 
want of liberality in his mother, sat down to table indignant 
against all selfish parents. 

' What are Mrs. Ferrars's views for you at present, Edward?' 
said she, when dinner was over, and they had drawn round 
the fire ; 'are you still to be a great orator in spite of yourself ?' 

* No. I hope my mother is now convinced that I have no 
more talents than inclination for a public life.' 

1 But how is your fame to be established ? for famous you 
must be to satisfy all your family ; and with no inclination for 
expense, no affection for strangers, no profession, and no assur- 
ance, you may find it a difficult matter.' 

* I shall not attempt it. I have no wish to be distinguished; 
and I have every reason to hope I never shall. Thank 
Heaven ! I cannot be forced into genius and eloquence.' 

( You have no ambition, I well know. Your wishes are all 



' As moderate as those of the rest of the world, I believe. 
I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy ; but, 
like everybody else, it must be in my own way. Greatness 
will not make me so. ; 

i Strange if it would ! ' cried Marianne. ' What have 
wealth or grandeur to do with happiness ? ' 

'Grandeur has but little/ said Elinor, 'but wealth has 
much to do with it.' 

i Elinor, for shame ! ' said Marianne ; ' money can only 
give happiness where there is nothing else to give it. Beyond 
a competence, it can afford no real satisfaction, as far as mere 
self is concerned.' 

' Perhaps,' said Elinor, smiling, ' we may come to the same 
point. Your competence and my wealth are very much alike, 
I daresay ; and without them, as the world goes now, we 
shall both agree that every kind of external comfort must be 
wanting. Your ideas are only more noble than mine. Come, 
what is your competence ? ' 

' About eighteen hundred or two thousand a year ; not 
more than that* 

Elinor laughed. £ Two thousand a year ! One is my 
wealth ! I guessed how it would end.' 

' And yet two thousand a year is a very moderate income/ 
said Marianne. 'A family cannot well be maintained on a 
smaller. I am sure I am not extravagant in my demands. A 
proper establishment of servants, a carriage, perhaps two, and 
hunters, cannot be supported on less.' 

Elinor smiled again, to hear her sister describing so accu- 
rately their future expenses at Combe Magna. 

1 Hunters ! ' repeated Edward ; « but why must you have 
hunters ? Everybody does not hunt.' 

Marianne coloured as she replied, < But most people do.' 

f I wish,' said Margaret, striking out a novel thought, ' that 
somebody would give us all a large fortune apiece ! 3 

' Oh that they would ! ' cried Marianne, her eyes sparkling 
with animation, and her cheeks glowing with the delight of 
such imaginary happiness. 

( We are all unanimous in that wish, I suppose/ said Elinor, 
' in spite of the insufficiency of wealth.' 

' Oh dear ! ' cried Margaret, « how happy I should be ! I 
wonder what I should do with it. 3 * 



Marianne looked as if she had no doubt on that point. 

{ I should be puzzled to spend a large fortune myself,' said 
Mrs. Dash wood, < if my children were all to be rich without 
my help. 3 

* You must begin your improvements on this house,' observed 
Elinor, ' and your difficulties will soon vanish.' 

' What magnificent orders would travel from this family to 
London,' said Edward, c in such an event ! What a happy 
day for booksellers, music-sellers, and print-shops ! You, Miss 
Dashwood, would give a general commission for every new 
print of merit to be sent you — and as for Marianne, I know 
her greatness of soul, there would not be music enough in 
London to content her. And books ! — Thomson, Cowper, 
Scott — she would buy them all over and over again : she 
would buy up every copy I believe, to prevent their falling into 
unworthy hands ; and she would have every book that tells her 
how to admire an old twisted tree. Should not you, Marianne ? 
Forgive me, if I am very saucy ; but I was willing to show 
you that I had not forgot our old disputes.' 

* I love to be reminded of the past, Edward — whether it be 
melancholy or gay, I love to recall it — and you will never 
offend me by talking of former times. You are very right in 
supposing how my money would be spent ; some of it, at least 
— my loose cash — would certainly be employed in improving 
my collection of music and books.' 

1 And the bulk of your fortune would be laid out in annuities 
on the authors or their heirs.' 

* No, Edward, I should have something else to do with 

4 Perhaps, then, you would bestow it as a reward on that 
person who wrote the ablest defence of your favourite maxim, 
that no one can ever be in love more than once in their life — 
for your opinion on that point is unchanged, I presume ? ' 

' Undoubtedly. At my time of life opinions are tolerably 
fixed. It is not likely that I should now see or hear anything 
to change them.' 

1 Marianne is as steadfast as ever, you see,' said Elinor ; 
' she is not at all altered.' 

1 She is only grown a little more grave than she was.' 

'Nay, Edward,' said Marianne, l you need not reproach 
me. You are not very gay yourself.' 
G 8i 


c Why should you think so ? ' replied he, with a sigh. * But 
gaiety never was a part of my character.' 

1 Nor do I think it a part of Marianne's,' said Elinor ; ' I 
should hardly call her a lively girl — she is very earnest, very 
eager in all she does — sometimes talks a great deal, and 
always with animation — but she is not often really merry.' 

i I believe you are right,' he replied ; f and yet I have always 
set her down as a lively girl.' 

4 1 have frequently detected myself in such kind of mistakes,' 
said Elinor, l in a total misapprehension of character in some 
point or other : fancying people so much more gay or grave, 
or ingenious or stupid, than they really are, and I can hardly 
tell why or in what the deception originated. Sometimes one 
is guided by what they say of themselves, and very frequently 
by what other people say of them, without giving one's self 
time to deliberate and judge.' 

' But I thought it was right, Elinor,' said Marianne, c to be 
guided wholly by the opinion of other people. I thought our 
judgments were given us merely to be subservient to those of 
our neighbours. This has always been your doctrine, I am 

' No, Marianne, never. My doctrine has never aimed at 
the subjection of the understanding. All I have ever at- 
tempted to influence has been the behaviour. You must not 
confound my meaning. I am guilty, I confess, of having 
often wished you to treat our acquaintance in general with 
greater attention ; but when have I advised you to adopt 
their sentiments or conform to their judgment in serious 
matters ? ' 

* You have not been able, then, to bring your sister over to 
your plan of general civility,' said Edward to Elinor. { Do 
you gain no ground ? ' 

' Quite the contrary,' replied Elinor, looking expressively at 

i My judgment,' he returned, e is all on your side of the 
question ; but I am afraid my practice is much more on your 
sister's. I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy that 
I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my 
natural awkwardness. I have frequently thought that I must 
have been intended by nature to be fond of low company, I 
am so little at my ease among strangers of gentility ! ' 



' Marianne has not shyness to excuse any inattention of 
hers,' said Elinor. 

4 She knows her own worth too well for false shame,' replied 
Edward. * Shyness is only the effect of a sense of inferiority 
in some way or other. If I could persuade myself that my 
manners were perfectly easy and graceful, I should not be 

4 But you would still be reserved/ said Marianne, * and that 
is worse.' 

Edward started. * Reserved ! Am I reserved, Marianne ? ' 

1 Yes, very.' 

' I do not understand you/ replied he, colouring. * Re- 
served ! — how, in what manner ? What am I to tell you ? 
What can you suppose ? ' 

Elinor looked surprised at his emotion ; but trying to laugh 
off the subject, she said to him, * Do not you know my sister 
well enough to understand what she means ? Do not you 
know she calls every one reserved who does not talk as fast 
and admire what she admires as rapturously as herself?' 

Edward made no answer. His gravity and thoughtfulness 
returned on him in their fullest extent — and he sat for some 
time silent and dull. 


Elinor saw, with great uneasiness, the low spirits of her 
friend. His visit afforded her but a very partial satisfaction, 
while his own enjoyment in it appeared so imperfect. It was 
evident that he was unhappy ; she wished it were equally 
evident that he still distinguished her by the same affection 
which once she had felt no doubt of inspiring ; but hitherto 
the continuance of his preference seemed very uncertain ; and 
the reservedness of his manner towards her contradicted one 
moment what a more animated look had intimated the preced- 
ing one. 

He joined her and Marianne in the breakfast-room the 
next morning before the others were down ; and Marianne, 
who was always eager to promote their happiness as far as 



she could, soon left them to themselves. But before she was 
half-way upstairs she heard the parlour door open, and 
turning round, was astonished to see Edward himself come 

' I am going into the village to see my horses,' said he, c as 
you are not yet ready for breakfast ; I shall be back again 

Edward returned to them with fresh admiration of the 
surrounding country : in his walk to the village he had seen 
many parts of the valley to advantage ; and the village itself, 
in a much higher situation than the cottage, afforded a general 
view of the whole, which had exceedingly pleased him. This 
was a subject which ensured Marianne's attention ; and she 
was beginning to describe her own admiration of these scenes, 
and to question him more minutely on the objects that had 
particularly struck him, when Edward interrupted her by 
saying, ' You must not inquire too far, Marianne : remember 
I have no knowledge in the picturesque, and I shall offend 
you by my ignorance and want of taste if we come to particu- 
lars. I shall call hills steep, which ought to be bold ; surfaces 
strange and uncouth, which ought to be irregular and rugged ; 
and distant objects out of sight, which ought only to be 
indistinct through the soft medium of a hazy atmosphere. 
You must be satisfied with such admiration as I can honestly 
give. I call it a very fine country, — the hills are steep, the 
woods seem full of fine timber, and the valley looks comfortable 
and snug, — with rich meadows and several neat farmhouses 
scattered here and there. It exactly answers my idea of a 
fine country, because it unites beauty with utility — and I dare- 
say it is a picturesque one too, because you admire it ; I can 
easily believe it to be full of rocks and promontories, grey 
moss and brushwood, but these are all lost on me. ' I know 
nothing of the picturesque.' 

' I am afraid it is but too true,' said Marianne ; ' but why 
should you boast of it ? ' 

' I suspect,' said Elinor, £ that to avoid one kind of affecta- 
tion, Edward here falls into another. Because he believes 
many people pretend to more admiration of the beauties of 
nature than they really feel, and is disgusted with such pre- 
tensions, he affects great indifference and less discrimination 



in viewing them himself than he possesses. He is fastidious, 
and will have an affectation of his own.' 

'It is very true,' said Marianne, 'that admiration of land- 
scape scenery has become a mere jargon. Everybody pre- 
tends to feel and tries to describe with the taste and elegance 
of him who first defined what picturesque beauty was. I detest 
jargon of every kind ; and sometimes I have kept my feelings 
to myself, because I could find no language to describe them 
in but what was worn and hackneyed out of all sense and 

' I am convinced/ said Edward, ' that you really feel all the 
delight in a fine prospect which you profess to feel. But, 
in return, your sister must allow me to feel no more than 
I profess. I like a fine prospect, but not on picturesque 
principles. I do not like crooked, twisted, blasted trees. I 
admire them much more if they are tall, straight, and flourish- 
ing. I do not like ruined, tattered cottages. I am not fond 
of nettles or thistles, or heath blossoms. I have more pleasure 
in a snug farmhouse than a watch-tower, — and a troop of tidy, 
happy villagers please me better than the finest banditti in the 

Marianne looked with amazement at Edward, with com- 
passion at her sister. Elinor only laughed. 

The subject was continued no further ; and Marianne 
remained thoughtfully silent, till a new object suddenly engaged 
her attention. She was sitting by Edward, and, in taking his 
tea from Mrs. Dashwood, his hand passed so directly before 
her, as to make a ring, with a plait of hair in the centre, very 
conspicuous on one of his fingers. 

' I never saw you wear a ring before, Edward,' she cried. 
'Is that Fanny's hair? I remember her promising to give 
you some. But I should have thought her hair had been 

Marianne spoke inconsiderately what she really felt ; but 
when she saw how much she had pained Edward, her own 
vexation at her want of thought could not be surpassed by his. 
He coloured very deeply, and, giving a momentary glance 
at Elinor, replied, 'Yes, it is my sister's hair. The setting 
always casts a different shade on it, you know.' 

Elinor had met his eye, and looked conscious likewise. 
That the hair was her own she instantaneously felt as well 



satisfied as Marianne ; the only difference in their conclusions 
was, that what Marianne considered as a free gift from her 
sister, Elinor was conscious must have been procured by some 
theft, or contrivance unknown to herself. She was not in a 
humour, however, to regard it as an affront ; and affecting to 
take no notice of what passed, by instantly talking of some- 
thing else, she internally resolved henceforward to catch every 
opportunity of eyeing the hair and of satisfying herself, beyond 
all doubt, that it was exactly the shade of her own. 

Edward's embarrassment lasted some time, and it ended in 
an absence of mind still more settled. He was particularly 
grave the whole morning. Marianne severely censured herself 
for what she had said ; but her own forgiveness might have 
been more speedy, had she known how little offence it had 
given her sister. 

Before the middle of the day they were visited by Sir John 
and Mrs. Jennings, who, having heard of the arrival of a 
gentleman at the cottage, came to take a survey of the guest. 
With the assistance of his mother-in-law, Sir John was not 
long in discovering that the name of Ferrars began with an F. 
And this prepared a future mine of raillery against the devoted 
Elinor, which nothing but the newness of their acquaintance 
with Edward could have prevented from being immediately 
sprung. But, as it was, she only learned, from some very sig- 
nificant looks, how far their penetration, founded on Margaret's 
instructions, extended. 

Sir John never came to the Dash woods without either 
inviting them to dine at the Park the next day, or to drink tea 
with them that evening. On the present occasion, for the 
better entertainment of their visitor, towards whose amusement 
he felt himself bound to contribute, he wished to engage them 
for both. 

'You must drink tea with us to-night,' said he, 'for we 
shall be quite alone ; and to-morrow you must absolutely dine 
with us, for we shall be a large party.' 

Mrs. Jennings enforced the necessity. 'And who knows 
but you may raise a dance ? ' said she. ' And that will tempt 
you, Miss Marianne.' 

'A dance?' cried Marianne. 'Impossible! Who is to 
dance ? ' 

' Who ? why yourselves, and the Careys and Whitakers, to 

Came to take a survey of the guest. 


be sure. What ! you thought nobody could dance because a 
certain person that shall be nameless is gone ! ' 

1 1 wish with all my soul,' cried Sir John, i that Willoughby 
were among us again.' 

This, and Marianne's blushing, gave new suspicions to 
Edward. * And who is Willoughby ? ' said he, in a low voice, 
to Miss Dashwood, by whom he was sitting. 

She gave him a brief reply. Marianne's countenance was 
more communicative. Edward saw enough to comprehend, 
not only the meaning of others, but such of Marianne's expres- 
sions as had puzzled him before ; and when their visitors left 
them he went immediately round her, and said, in a whisper, 
{ I have been guessing. Shall I tell you my guess ? ' 

i What do you mean ? ' 

< Shall I tell you ? ' 

£ Certainly.' 

* Well, then ; I guess that Mr. Willoughby hunts.' 
Marianne was surprised and confused, yet she could not 

help smiling at the 'quiet archness of his manner, and, after a 
moment's silence, said — 

' Oh, Edward ! How can you ? — But the time will come, 
I hope — I am sure you will like him.' 

* I do not doubt it,' replied he, rather astonished at her 
earnestness and warmth ; for had he not imagined it to be a 
joke for the good of her acquaintance in general, founded only 
on a something or a nothing between Mr. Willoughby and 
herself, he would not have ventured to mention it. 


Edward remained a week at the cottage ; he was earnestly 
pressed by Mrs. Dashwood to stay longer ; but, as if he were 
bent only on self-mortification, he seemed resolved to be gone 
when his enjoyment among his friends was at the height. 
His spirits, during the last two or three days, though still very 
unequal, were greatly improved — he grew more and more 
partial to the house and environs — never spoke of going away 
without a sigh — declared his time to be wholly disengaged — 


even doubted to what place he should go when he left them — 
but still, go he must. Never had any week passed so quickly 
— he could hardly believe it to be gone. He said so repeatedly ; 
other things he said, too, which marked the turn of his feel- 
ings, and gave the lie to his actions. He had no pleasure at 
Norland ; he detested being in town ; but either to Norland 
or London he must go. He valued their kindness beyond 
anything, and his greatest happiness was in being with them. 
Yet he must leave them at the end of a week, in spite of their 
wishes and his own, and without any restraint on his time. 

Elinor placed all that was astonishing in this way of acting 
to his mother's account ; and it was happy for her that he had 
a mother whose character was so imperfectly known to her as 
to be the general excuse for everything strange on the part of 
her son. Disappointed, however, and vexed as she was, and 
sometimes displeased with his uncertain behaviour to herself, 
she was very well disposed on the whole to regard his actions 
with all the candid allowances and generous qualifications 
which had been rather more painfully extorted from her, for 
Willoughby's service, by her mother. His want of spirits, of 
openness, and of consistency, was most usually attributed to 
his want of independence, and his better knowledge of Mrs. 
Ferrars's dispositions and designs. The shortness of his visit, 
the steadiness of his purpose in leaving them, originated in 
the same fettered inclination, the same inevitable necessity 
of temporising with his mother. The old, well-established 
grievance of duty against will, parent against child, was the 
cause of all. She would have been glad to know when these 
difficulties were to cease, this opposition were to yield, when 
Mrs. Ferrars would be reformed, and her son be at liberty to 
be happy. But from such vain wishes she was forced to turn 
for comfort to the renewal of her confidence in Edward's 
affection, to the remembrance of every mark of regard in look 
or word which fell from him while at Barton, and above all, to 
that flattering proof of it which he constantly wore round his 

* I think, Edward,' said Mrs. Dashwood, as they were at 
breakfast the last morning, 'you would be a happier man if 
you had any profession to engage your time and give an 
interest to your plans and actions. Some inconvenience to 
your friends, indeed, might result from it — you would not be 

8 9 


able to give them so much of your time. But (with a smile) 
you would be materially benefited in one particular at least — 
you would know where to go when you left them.' 

c I do assure you,' he replied, * that I have long thought on 
this point as you think now. It has been, and is, and prob- 
ably will always be, a heavy misfortune to me that I have 
had no necessary business to engage me, no profession to give 
me employment, or afford me anything like independence. 
But unfortunately my own nicety, and the nicety of my friends, 
have made me what I am, an idle, helpless being. We never 
could agree in our choice of a profession. I always preferred 
the church, as I still do. But that was not smart enough for 
my family. They recommended the army. That was a great 
deal too smart for me. The law was allowed to be genteel 
enough : many young men, who had chambers in the Temple, 
made a very good appearance in the first circles, and drove 
about town in very knowing gigs. But I had no inclination 
for the law, even in this less abstruse study of it which my 
family approved. As for the navy, it had fashion on its side, 
but I was too old when the subject was first started to enter 
it ; and, at length, as there was no necessity for my having 
any profession at all, as I might be as dashing and expensive 
without a red coat on my back as with one, idleness was pro- 
nounced on the whole to be the most advantageous and 
honourable, and a young man of eighteen is not in general so 
earnestly bent on being busy as to resist the solicitations of 
his friends to do nothing. I was therefore entered at Oxford, 
and have been properly idle ever since.' 

* The consequence of which, I suppose, will be,' said Mrs. 
Dashwood, c since leisure has not promoted your own happi- 
ness, that your sons will be brought up to as many pursuits, 
employments, professions, and trades as Columella's.' 

1 They will be brought up,' said he, in a serious accent, * to 
be as unlike myself as is possible. In feeling, in action, in 
condition, in everything.' 

c Come, come ; this is all an effusion of immediate want of 
spirits, Edward. You are in a melancholy humour, and fancy 
that any one unlike yourself must be happy. But remember 
that the pain of parting from friends will be felt by everybody 
at times, whatever be their education or state. Know your 
own happiness. You want nothing but patience — or give it a 



more fascinating name, call it hope. Your mother will secure 
to you, in time, that independence you are so anxious for ; it 
is her duty, and it will, it must ere long, become her happiness 
to prevent your whole youth from being wasted in discontent. 
How much may not a few months do ? ' 

' I think,' replied Edward, ' that I may defy many months 
to produce any good to me.' 

This desponding turn of mind, though it could not be com- 
municated to Mrs. Dashwood, gave additional pain to them 
all in the parting, which shortly took place, and left an un- 
comfortable impression on Elinor's feelings especially, which 
required some trouble and time to subdue. But as it was 
her determination to subdue it, and to prevent herself from 
appearing to suffer more than what all her family suffered on 
his going away, she did not adopt the method so judiciously 
employed by Marianne, on a similar occasion, to augment and 
fix her sorrow, by seeking silence, solitude, and idleness. 
Their means were as different as their objects, and equally 
suited to the advancement of each. 

Elinor sat down to her drawing-table as soon as he was out 
of the house, busily employed herself the whole day, neither 
sought nor avoided the mention of his name, appeared to 
interest herself almost as much as ever in the general concerns 
of the family ; and if, by this conduct, she did not lessen her 
own grief, it was at least prevented from unnecessary increase, 
and her mother and sisters were spared much solicitude on 
her account. 

Such behaviour as this, so exactly the reverse of her own, 
appeared no more meritorious to Marianne than her own had 
seemed faulty to her. The business of self-command she 
settled very easily : — with strong affections it was impossible, 
with calm ones it could have no merit. That her sister's 
affections were calm she dared not deny, though she blushed 
to acknowledge it ; and of the strength of her own she gave a 
very striking proof by still loving and respecting that sister, in 
spite of this mortifying conviction. 

Without shutting herself up from her family, or leaving the 
house in determined solitude to avoid them, or lying awake 
the whole night to indulge meditation, Elinor found every day 
afforded her leisure enough to think of Edward, and of 
Edward's behaviour, in every possible variety which the dif- 



ferent state of her spirits at different times could produce, — 
with tenderness, pity, approbation, censure, and doubt. There 
were moments in abundance, when, if not by the absence of 
her mother and sisters, at least by the nature of their employ- 
ments, conversation was forbidden among them, and every 
effect of solitude was produced. Her mind was inevitably at 
liberty ; her thoughts could not be chained elsewhere ; and 
the past and the future, on a subject so interesting, must be 
before her, must force her attention, and engross her memory, 
her reflection, and her fancy. 

From a reverie of this kind, as she sat at her drawing-table, 
she was roused one morning, soon after Edward's leaving 
them, by the arrival of company. She happened to be quite 
alone. The closing of the little gate, at the entrance of the 
green court in front of the house, drew her eyes to the window, 
and she saw a large party walking up to the door. Amongst 
them were Sir John and Lady Middleton and Mrs. Jennings, 
but there were two others, a gentleman and lady who were 
quite unknown to her. She was sitting near the window ; and 
as soon as Sir John perceived her, he left the rest of the party 
to the ceremony of knocking at the door, and stepping across 
the turf, obliged her to open the casement to speak to him, 
though the space was so short between the door and the 
window as to make it hardly possible to speak at one without 
being heard at the other. 

<Well, ; said he, 'we have brought you some strangers. 
How do you like them ? ' 

' Hush ! they will hear you.' 

' Never mind if they do. It is only the Palmers. Charlotte 
is very pretty, I can tell you. You may see her if you look 
this way.' 

As Elinor was certain of seeing her in a couple of minutes, 
without taking that liberty, she begged to be excused. 

' Where is Marianne ? Has she run away because we are 
come ? I see her instrument is open.' 

' She is walking, I believe.' 

They were now joined by Mrs. Jennings, who had not 
patience enough to wait till the door was opened before she 
told her story. She came hallooing to the window, i How do 
you do, my dear ? How does Mrs. Dash wood do ? And 
where are your sisters ? What ! all alone ? you will be glad 



of a little company to sit with you. I have brought my other 
son and daughter to see you. Only think of their coming so 
suddenly ! I thought I heard a carriage last night, while we 
were drinking our tea, but it never entered my head that it 
could be them. I thought of nothing but whether it might 
not be Colonel Brandon come back again ; so I said to Sir 
John, I do think I hear a carriage ; perhaps it is Colonel 
Brandon come back again ' 

Elinor was obliged to turn from her, in the middle of her 
story, to receive the rest of the party : Lady Middleton intro- 
duced the two strangers ; Mrs. Dashwood and Margaret came 
downstairs at the same time, and they all sat down to look at 
one another, while Mrs. Jennings continued her story as she 
walked through the passage into the parlour attended by Sir 

Mrs. Palmer was several years younger than Lady Middle- 
ton, and totally unlike her in every respect. She was short 
and plump, had a very pretty face, and the finest expression 
of good humour in it that could possibly be. Her manners 
were by no means so elegant as her sister's, but they were 
much more prepossessing. She came in with a smile, smiled 
all the time of her visit, except when she laughed, and smiled 
when she went away. Her husband was a grave- looking 
young man of five or six and twenty, with an air of more 
fashion and sense than his wife, but of less willingness to 
please or be pleased. He entered the room with a look of 
self-consequence, slightly bowed to the ladies, without speaking 
a word, and, after briefly surveying them and their apartments, 
took up a newspaper from the table, and continued to read it 
as long as he stayed. 

Mrs. Palmer, on the contrary, who was strongly endowed 
by nature with a turn for being uniformly civil and happy, 
was hardly seated before her admiration of the parlour and 
everything in it burst forth. 

1 Well ! what a delightful room this is ! I never saw any- 
thing so charming ! Only think, mamma, how it is improved 
since I was here last ! I always thought it such a sweet place, 
ma'am ! (turning to Mrs. Dashwood), but you have made it 
so charming ! Only look, sister, how delightful everything is ! 
How I should like such a house for myself! Should not you, 
Mr. Palmer?' 



Mr. Palmer made her no answer, and did not even raise 
his eyes from the newspaper. 

* Mr. Palmer does not hear me/ said she, laughing ; c he 
never does sometimes. It is so ridiculous ! ' 

This was quite a new idea to Mrs. Dashwood : she had 
never been used to find wit in the inattention of any one, and 
could not help looking with surprise at them both. 

Mrs. Jennings, in the meantime, talked on as loud as she 
could, and continued her account of their surprise, the evening 
before, on seeing their friends, without ceasing till everything 
was told. Mrs. Palmer laughed heartily at the recollection 
of their astonishment, and everybody agreed, two or three 
times over, that it had been quite an agreeable surprise. 

* You may believe how glad we all were to see them/ added 
Mrs. Jennings, leaning forward towards Elinor, and speaking 
in a low voice as if she meant to be heard by no one else, 
though they were seated on different sides of the room ; ' but, 
however, I can't help wishing they had not travelled quite so 
fast, nor made such a long journey of it, for they came all 
round by London upon account of some business, for you know 
(nodding significantly and pointing to her daughter) it was 
wrong in her situation. I wanted her to stay at home and 
rest this morning, but she would come with us ; she longed so 
much to see you all ! ' 

Mrs. Palmer laughed, and said it would not do her any 

* She expects to be confined in February/ continued Mrs. 

Lady Middleton could no longer endure such a conversa- 
tion, and therefore exerted herself to ask Mr. Palmer if there 
was any news in the paper. 

c No, none at all,' he replied, and read on. 

* Here comes Marianne/ cried Sir John. c Now, Palmer, 
you shall see a monstrous pretty girl.' 

He immediately went into the passage, opened the front 
door, and ushered her in himself. Mrs. Jennings asked her, 
as soon as she appeared, if she had not been to Allenham ; 
and Mrs. Palmer laughed so heartily at the question, as to 
show she understood it. Mr. Palmer looked up on her enter- 
ing the room, stared at her some minutes, and then returned 
to his newspaper. Mrs. Palmer's eye was now caught by 


( / declare they are quite charming, ' 


the drawings which hung round the room. She got up to 
examine them. 

' Oh dear, how beautiful these are ! Well, how delightful 1 
Do but look, mamma, how sweet ! I declare they are quite 
charming ; I could look at them for ever.' And then sitting 
down again, she very soon forgot that there were any such 
things in the room. 

When Lady Middleton rose to go away, Mr. Palmer rose 
also, laid down the newspaper, stretched himself, and looked 
at them all around. 

' My love, have you been asleep ? ' said his wife, laughing. 

He made her no answer; and only observed, after again 
examining the room, that it was very low pitched, and that 
the ceiling was crooked. He then made his bow, and de- 
parted with the rest. 

Sir John had been very urgent with them all to spend the 
next day at the Park. Mrs. Dashwood, who did not choose to 
dine with them oftener than they dined at the cottage, abso- 
lutely refused on her own account ; her daughters might do as 
they pleased. But they had no curiosity to see how Mr. and 
Mrs. Palmer ate their dinner, and no expectation of pleasure 
from them in any other way. They attempted, therefore, 
likewise to excuse themselves ; the weather was uncertain, and 
not likely to be good. But Sir John would not be satisfied, — 
the carriage should be sent for them, and they must come. 
Lady Middleton too, though she did not press their mother, 
pressed them. Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Palmer joined their 
entreaties, — all seemed equally anxious to avoid a family party ; 
and the young ladies were obliged to yield. 

' Why should they ask us ? ' said Marianne, as soon as they 
were gone. * The rent of this cottage is said to be low ; but 
we have had it on very hard terms, if we are to dine at the 
Park whenever any one is staying either with them or with us.' 

* They mean no less to be civil and kind to us now,' said 
Elinor, * by these frequent invitations than by those which we 
received from them a few weeks ago. The alteration is not 
in them, if their parties are grown tedious and dull. We must 
look for the change elsewhere. 1 

9 6 



As the Miss Dashwoods entered the drawing-room of the 
Park the next day at one door, Mrs. Palmer came running in 
at the other, looking as good-humoured and merry as before. 
She took them all most affectionately by the hand, and ex- 
pressed great delight in seeing them again. 

4 1 am so glad to see you ! ' said she, seating herself 
between Elinor and Marianne ; c for it is so bad a day I was 
afraid you might not come, which would be a shocking thing, 
as we go away again to-morrow. We must go, for the 
Westons come to us next week, you know. It was quite a 
sudden thing our coming at all ; and I knew nothing of it till 
the carriage was coming to the door, and then Mr. Palmer 
asked me if I would go with him to Barton. He is so droll ! 
He never tells me anything ! I am so sorry we cannot stay 
longer; however, we shall meet again in town very soon, 
I hope.' 

They were obliged to put an end to such an expectation. 

* Not go to town ! ' cried Mrs. Palmer, with a laugh ; * I 
shall be quite disappointed if you do not. I could get the 
nicest house in the world for you, next door to ours in Hanover 
Square. You must come, indeed. I am sure I shall be very 
happy to chaperon you at any time till I am confined, if Mrs. 
Dashwood should not like to go into public.' 

They thanked her ; but were obliged to resist all her 

* Oh, my love,' cried Mrs. Palmer to her husband, who just 
tHen entered the room, 'you must help me to persuade the 
Miss Dashwoods to go to town this winter.' 

Her love made no answer ; and after slightly bowing to 
the ladies, began complaining of the weather. 

* How horrid all this is ! ' said he. ' Such weather makes 
everything and everybody disgusting. Dulness is as much 
produced within doors as without by rain. It makes one 
detest all one's acquaintance. What the devil does Sir John 
mean by not having a billiard-room in his house ? How few 
people know what comfort is ! Sir John is as stupid as the 

H 97 


The rest of the company soon dropt in. 

' I am afraid, Miss Marianne,' said Sir John, ' you have not 
been able to take your usual walk to Allenham to-day.' 

Marianne looked very grave, and said nothing. 

* Oh, don't be so sly before us/ said Mrs. Palmer ; * for we 
know all about it, I assure you ; and I admire your taste very 
much, for I think he is extremely handsome. We do not live 
a great way from him in the country, you know. Not above 
ten miles, I daresay.' 

' Much nearer thirty,' said her husband. 

' Ah, well ! there is not much difference. I never was at 
his house ; but they say it is a sweet pretty place.' 

' As vile a spot as I ever saw in my life,' said Mr. Palmer. 

Marianne remained perfectly silent, though her countenance 
betrayed her interest in what was said. 

' Is it very ugly ? ' continued Mrs. Palmer ; — ' then it must 
be some other place that is so pretty, I suppose.' 

When they were seated in the dining-room, Sir John 
observed with regret that they were only eight altogether. 

' My dear,' said he to his lady, * it is very provoking that 
we should be so few. Why did not you ask the Gilberts to 
come to us to-day ? ' 

' Did not 1 tell you, Sir John, when you spoke to me about 
it before, that it could not be done ? They dined with us last.' 

'You and I, Sir John,' said Mrs. Jennings, 'should not 
stand upon such ceremony.' 

' Then you would be very ill-bred,' cried Mr. Palmer. 

' My love, you contradict everybody,' said his wife, with 
her usual laugh. c Do you know that you are quite rude ? ' 

' 1 did not know I contradicted anybody in calling your 
mother ill-bred.' 

'Ay, you may abuse me as you please,' said the good- 
natured old lady ; ' you have taken Charlotte off my hands, 
and cannot give her back again. So there I have the whip- 
hand of you.' 

Charlotte laughed heartily to think that her husband could 
not get rid of her ; and exultingly said she did not care how 
cross he was to her, as they must live together. It was 
impossible for any one to be more thoroughly good-natured, or 
more determined to be happy, than Mrs. Palmer. The studied 
indifference, insolence, and discontent of her husband, gave 



her no pain ; and when he scolded or abused her, she was 
highly diverted. 

* Mr. Palmer is so droll ! ' said she in a whisper to Elinor. 
* He is always out of humour. 1 

Elinor was not inclined, after a little observation, to give 
him credit for being so genuinely and unaffectedly ill-natured 
or ill-bred as he wished to appear. His temper might perhaps 
be a little soured by finding, like many others of his sex, that 
through some unaccountable bias in favour of beauty, he was 
the husband of a very silly woman — but she knew that this 
kind of blunder was too common for any sensible man to be 
lastingly hurt by it. It was rather a wish of distinction, she 
believed, which produced his contemptuous treatment of every- 
body, and his general abuse of everything before him. It was 
the desire of appearing superior to other people. The motive 
was too common to be wondered at ; but the means, however 
they might succeed by establishing his superiority in ill-breed- 
ing, were not likely to attach any one to him except his wife. 

'Oh, my dear Miss Dashwood,' said Mrs. Palmer soon 
afterwards, * I have got such a favour to ask of you and your 
sister. Will you come and spend some time at Cleveland 
this Christmas ? Now, pray do, — and come while the Westons 
are with us. You cannot think how happy I shall be ! It 
will be quite delightful ! My love,' applying to her husband, 
1 don't you long to have the Miss Dashwoods come to 
Cleveland ? ' » 

1 Certainly,' he replied, with a sneer ; * I came into Devon- 
shire with no other view.' 

c There now,' said his lady, * you see Mr. Palmer expects 
you ; so you cannot refuse to come.' 

They both eagerly and resolutely declined her invitation. 

* But indeed you must and shall come. I am sure you will 
like it of all things. The Westons will be with us, and it will 
be quite delightful. You cannot think what a sweet place 
Cleveland is ; and we are so gay now, for Mr. Palmer is always 
going about the country canvassing against the election, and 
so many people come to dine with us that I never saw before ; 
it is quite charming ! But, poor fellow ! it is very fatiguing to 
him, for he is forced to make everybody like him.' 

Elinor could hardly keep her countenance as she assented 
to the hardship of such an obligation. 



* How charming it will be,' said Charlotte, { when he is in 
Parliament ! — won't it ? How I shall laugh ! It will be so 
ridiculous to see all his letters directed to him with an M.P. 
But do you know, he says he will never frank for me ? He 
declares he won't; don't you, Mr. Palmer?' 

Mr. Palmer took no notice of her. 

* He cannot bear writing, you know,' she continued ; c he 
says it is quite shocking.' 

* No,' said he, * I never said anything so irrational. Don't 
palm all your abuses of language upon me.' 

* There now ; you see how droll he is. This is always the 
way with him ! Sometimes he won't speak to me for half a 
day together, and then he comes out with something so droll — 
all about anything in the world.' 

She surprised Elinor very much, as they returned into the 
drawing-room, by asking her whether she did not like Mr. 
Palmer excessively. 

* Certainly,' said Elinor ; * he seems very agreeable.' 

* Well, I am so glad you do. I thought you would, he is 
so pleasant ; and Mr. Palmer is excessively pleased with you 
and your sisters, I can tell you ; and you can't think how 
disappointed he will be if you don't come to Cleveland. I 
can't imagine why you should object to it' 

Elinor was again obliged to decline her invitation ; and, by 
changing the subject, put a stop to her entreaties. She thought 
it probable that as they lived in the same county Mrs. Palmer 
might be able to give some more particular account of 
Willoughby's general character than could be gathered from 
the Middletons' partial acquaintance with him ; and she was 
eager to gain from any one such a confirmation of his merits 
as might remove the possibility of fear from Marianne. She 
began by inquiring if they saw much of Mr. Willoughby at 
Cleveland, and whether they were intimately acquainted with 

4 Oh dear, yes ; I know him extremely well,' replied Mrs. 
Palmer ; — * not that I ever spoke to him, indeed ; but I have 
seen him for ever in town. Somehow or other I never 
happened to be staying at Barton while he was at Allenham ; 
mamma saw him here once before, but I was with my uncle 
at Weymouth. However, I daresay we should have seen a 
great deal of him in Somersetshire if it had not happened very 


unluckily that we should never have been in the country 
together. He is very little at Combe, I believe ; but if he 
were ever so much there I do not think Mr. Palmer would 
visit him, for he is in the opposition, you know ; and besides, 
it is such a way off. I know why you inquire about him very 
well — your sister is to marry him. I am monstrous glad of it, 
for then I shall have her for a neighbour, you know.' 

4 Upon my word,' replied Elinor, ' you know much more of 
the matter than I do, if you have any reason to expect such a 

4 Don't pretend to deny it, because you know it is what 
everybody talks of. I assure you I heard of it in my way 
through town.' 

' My dear Mrs. Palmer ! ' 

' Upon my honour I did. I met Colonel Brandon Monday 
morning in Bond Street, just before we left town, and he told 
me of it directly.' 

'You surprise me very much. Colonel Brandon tell you 
of it ? Surely you must be mistaken. To give such intel- 
ligence to a person who could not be interested in it, even if 
it were true, is not what I should expect Colonel Brandon 
to do.' 

' But I do assure you it was so, for all that ; and I will tell 
you how it happened. When we met him, he turned back 
and walked with us ; and so we began talking of my brother 
and sister, and one thing and another, and I said to him, " So, 
Colonel, there is a new family come to Barton Cottage, I hear ; 
and mamma sends me word they are very pretty, and that one 
of them is going to be married to Mr. Willoughby of Combe 
Magna. Is it true, pray ? for of course you must know, as you 
have been in Devonshire so lately." ' 

' And what did the Colonel say ? ' 

' Oh, he did not say much, but he looked as if he knew 
it to be true ; so from that moment I set it down as certain. 
It will be quite delightful, I declare. When is it to take 
place ? ' 

t Mr. Brandon was very well, I hope ? ' 

' Oh • yes, quite well ; and so full of your praises, he did 
nothing but say fine things of you.' 

' I am flattered by his commendation. He seems an 
excellent man, and I think him uncommonly pleasing.' 



' So do I. He is such a charming man that it is quite a 
pity he should be so grave and so dull. Mamma says he was 
in love with your sister too. I assure you it was a great 
compliment if he was, for he hardly ever falls in love with 

* Is Mr. Willoughby much known in your part of Somerset- 
shire ? ' said Elinor. 

* Oh yes, extremely well ; that is, I do not believe many 
people are acquainted with him, because Combe Magna is 
so far off, but they all think him extremely agreeable, I 
assure you. Nobody is more liked than Mr. Willoughby, 
wherever he goes ; and so you may tell your sister. She is 
a monstrous lucky girl to get him, upon my honour ; not but 
that he is much more lucky in getting her, because she is so 
very handsome and agreeable that nothing can be good 
enough for her. However, I don't think her hardly at all 
handsomer than you, I assure you ; for I think you both 
excessively pretty, and so does Mr. Palmer too, I am sure, 
though we could not get him to own it last night.' 

Mrs. Palmer's information respecting Willoughby was not 
very material ; but any testimony in his favour, however 
small, was pleasing to her. 

1 I am so glad we are got acquainted at last,' continued 
Charlotte. 'And now I hope we shall always be great 
friends. You can't think how much I longed to see you. 
It is so delightful that you should live at the cottage ; 
nothing can be like it, to be sure. And I am so glad your 
sister is going to be well married. I hope you will be a great 
deal at Combe Magna ; it is a sweet place, by all accounts.' 

'You have been long acquainted with Colonel Brandon, 
have not you ? ' 

' Yes, a great while ; ever .since my sister married. He 
was a particular friend of Sir John's. I believe,' she added, in 
a low voice, ' he would have been very glad to have had me, 
if he could. Sir John and Lady Middleton wished it very 
much ; but mamma did not think the match good enough for 
me, otherwise Sir John would have mentioned it to the Colonel, 
and we should have been married immediately.' 

1 Did not Colonel Brandon know of Sir John's proposal to 
your mother before it was made ? Had he never owned his 
affection to yourself?' 



c Oh no ; but if mamma had not objected to it, I daresay 
he would have liked it of all things. He had not seen me 
then above twice, for it was before I left school. However, I 
am much happier as I am. Mr. Palmer is just the kind of 
man I like.' 


The Palmers returned to Cleveland the next day, and the two 
families at Barton were again left to entertain each other. 
But this did not last long ; Elinor had hardly got their last 
visitors out of her head — had hardly done wondering at 
Charlotte's being so happy without a cause, at Mr. Palmer's 
acting so simply, with good abilities, and at the strange 
unsuitableness which often existed between husband and wife 
— before Sir John's and Mrs. Jennings's active zeal in the cause 
of society procured her some other new acquaintance to see 
and observe. 

In a morning's excursion to Exeter they had met with two 
young ladies whom Mrs. Jennings had the satisfaction of 
discovering to be her relations, and this was enough for Sir 
John to invite them directly to the Park as soon as their 
present engagements at Exeter were over. Their engagements 
at Exeter instantly gave way before such an invitation ; and 
Lady Middleton was thrown into no little alarm, on the return 
of Sir John, by hearing that she was very soon to receive a 
visit from two girls whom she had never seen in her life, and 
of whose elegance — whose tolerable gentility even — she could 
have no proof, for the assurances of her husband and mother 
on that subject went for nothing at all. Their being her 
relations, too, made it so much the worse ; and Mrs. Jennings's 
attempts at consolation were, therefore, unfortunately founded 
when she advised her daughter not to care about their being 
so fashionable, because they were all cousins, and must put up 
with one another. As it was impossible, however, now, to 
prevent their coming, Lady Middleton resigned herself to the 
idea of it with all the philosophy of a well-bred woman, con- 
tenting herself with merely giving her husband a gentle repri- 
mand on the subject five or six times every day. 



The young ladies arrived. Their appearance was by no 
means ungenteel or unfashionable ; their dress was very smart, 
their manners very civil. They were delighted with the house, 
and in raptures with the furniture ; and they happened to be 
so doatingly fond of children that Lady Middleton's good 
opinion was engaged in their favour before they had been an 
hour at the Park. She declared them to be very agreeable 
girls indeed, which, for her Ladyship, was enthusiastic admira- 
tion. Sir John's confidence in his own judgment rose with 
this animated praise, and he set off directly for the cottage, to 
tell the Miss Dash woods of the Miss Steeles' arrival, and to 
assure them of their being the sweetest girls in the world. 
From such commendation as this, however, there was not much 
to be learned : Elinor well knew that the sweetest girls in the 
world were to be met with in every part of England, under 
every possible variation of form, face, temper, and under- 
standing. Sir John wanted the whole family to walk to the 
Park directly, and look at his guests. Benevolent, philan- 
thropic man ! It was painful to him even to keep a third 
cousin to himself. 

* Do come now,' said he ; l pray come — you must come — I 
declare you shall come. You can't think how you will like 
them. Lucy is monstrous pretty, and so good-humoured and 
agreeable ! The children are all hanging about her already, as 
if she was an old acquaintance. And they both long to see 
you of all things ; for they have heard at Exeter that you are 
the most beautiful creatures in the world, and I have told them 
it is all very true, and a great deal more. You will be 
delighted with them, I am sure. They have brought the 
whole coach full of playthings for the children. How can you 
be so cross as not to come ? Why, they are your cousins, you 
know, after a fashion. You are my cousins, and they are my 
wife's ; so you must be related.' 

But Sir John could not prevail ; he could only obtain a 
promise of their calling at the Park within a day or two, and 
then left them, in amazement at their indifference, to walk 
home and boast anew of their attractions to the Miss 
Steeles, as he had been already boasting of the Miss Steeles 
to them. 

When their promised visit to the Park, and consequent 
introduction to these young ladies, took place, they found in 



the appearance of the eldest, who was nearly thirty, with a 
very plain and not a sensible face, nothing to admire j but in 
the other, who was not more than two or three and twenty, 
they acknowledged considerable beauty. Her features were 
pretty, and she had a sharp, quick eye, and a smartness of air, 
which, though it did not give actual elegance or grace, gave 
distinction to her person. Their manners were particularly 
civil, and Elinor soon allowed them credit for some kind of 
sense when she saw with what constant and judicious attentions 
they were making themselves agreeable to Lady Middleton. 
With her children they were in continual raptures, extolling 
their beauty, courting their notice, and humouring all their 
whims ; and such of their time as could be spared from the 
importunate demands which this politeness made on it was 
spent in admiration of whatever her Ladyship was doing, if 
she happened to be doing anything, or in taking patterns of 
some elegant new dress, in which her appearance the day 
before had thrown them into unceasing delight. Fortunately 
for those who pay their court through such foibles, a fond 
mother, though in pursuit of praise for her children the most 
rapacious of human beings, is likewise the most credulous ; 
her demands are exorbitant, but she will swallow anything ; 
and the excessive affection and endurance of the Miss Steeles 
towards her offspring were viewed, therefore, by Lady Middle- 
ton without the smallest surprise or distrust. She saw with 
maternal complacency all the impertinent encroachments and 
mischievous tricks to which her cousins submitted. She saw 
their sashes untied, their hair pulled about their ears, their 
work-bags searched, and their knives and scissors stolen away, 
and felt no doubt of its being a reciprocal enjoyment. It 
suggested no other surprise than that Elinor and Marianne 
should sit so composedly by, without claiming a share in what 
was passing. 

1 John is in such spirits to-day ! ' said she, on his taking Miss 
Steele's pocket-handkerchief and throwing it out of window — 
* he is full of monkey-tricks.' 

And soon afterwards, on the second boy's violently pinch- 
ing one of the same lady's fingers, she fondly observed, < How 
playful William is ! ' 

'And here is my sweet little Anna-Maria,' she added, 
tenderly caressing a little girl of three years old, who had not 


Mischievous tricks. 


made a noise for the last two minutes ; ' and she is always so 
gentle and quiet. Never was there such a quiet little thing ! ' 
But unfortunately, in bestowing these embraces a pin in 
her Ladyship's head-dress slightly scratching the child's neck, 
produced from this pattern of gentleness such violent screams 
as could hardly be outdone by any creature professedly noisy. 
The mother's consternation was excessive, but it could not 
surpass the alarm of the Miss Steeles ; and everything was 
done by all three, in so critical an emergency, which affection 
could suggest, as likely to assuage the agonies of the little 
sufferer. She was seated in her mother's lap, covered with 
kisses, her wound bathed with lavender-water by one of the 
Miss Steeles, who was on her knees to attend her, and her 
mouth stuffed with sugar-plums by the other. With such a 
reward for her tears, the child was too wise to cease crying. 
She still screamed and sobbed lustily, kicked her two brothers 
for offering to touch her, and all their united soothings were 
ineffectual, till Lady Middleton luckily remembering that in 
a scene of similar distress last week some apricot marmalade 
had been successfully applied for a bruised temple, the same 
remedy was eagerly proposed for this unfortunate scratch, and 
a slight intermission of screams in the young lady on hearing 
it gave them reason to hope that it would not be rejected. 
She was carried out of the room, therefore, in her mother's 
arms, in quest of this medicine ; and as the two boys chose 
to follow, though earnestly entreated by their mother to stay 
behind, the four young ladies were left in a quietness which 
the room had not known for many hours. 

* Poor little creature ! ' said Miss Steele, as soon as they 
were gone ; * it might have been a very sad accident.' 

* Yet I hardly know how,' cried Marianne, l unless it had 
been under totally different circumstances. But this is the 
usual way of heightening alarm, where there is nothing to be 
alarmed at in reality.' 

'What a sweet woman Lady Middleton is!' said Lucy Steele. 

Marianne was silent. It was impossible for her to say what 
she did not feel, however trivial the occasion ; and upon Elinor, 
therefore, the whole task of telling lies, when politeness re- 
quired it, always fell. She did her best when thus called 
on, by speaking of Lady Middleton with more warmth than 
she felt, though with far less than Miss Lucy. 



* And Sir John, too,' cried the elder sister, l what a charming 
man he is 1 ' 

Here, too, Miss Dashwood's commendation, being only 
simple and just, came in without any eclat. She merely 
observed that he was perfectly good-humoured and friendly. 

4 And what a charming little family they have ! I never 
saw such fine children in my life. I declare I quite doat upon 
them already ; and, indeed, I am always distractedly fond of 
children. ' 

' I should guess so, 5 said Elinor, with a smile, * from what 
I have witnessed this morning.' 

' I have a notion,' said Lucy, ' you think the little Middle- 
tons rather too much indulged. Perhaps they may be the 
outside of enough ; but it is so natural in Lady Middleton, 
and for my part I love to see children full of life and spirits ; 
I cannot bear them if they are tame and quiet.' 

1 1 confess,' replied Elinor, l that while I am at Barton Park 
I never think of tame and quiet children with any abhorrence.' 

A short pause succeeded this speech, which was first broken 
by Miss Steele, who seemed very much disposed for conversa- 
tion, and who now said, rather abruptly, 'And how do you 
like Devonshire, Miss Dash wood ? I suppose you were very 
sorry to leave Sussex ? ' 

In some surprise at the familiarity of this question, or at 
least of the manner in which it was spoken, Elinor replied that 
she was. 

' Norland is a prodigious beautiful place, is not it ? ' added 
Miss Steele. 

c We have heard Sir John admire it excessively,' said Lucy, 
who seemed to think some apology necessary for the freedom 
of her sister. 

* I think every one must admire it,' replied Elinor, ' who 
ever saw the place ; though it is not to be supposed that any 
one can estimate its beauties as we do.' 

* And had you a great many smart beaux there ? I suppose 
you have not so many in this part of the world. For my part, 
I think they are a vast addition always.' 

* But why should you think,' said Lucy, looking ashamed 
of her sister, * that there are not as many genteel young men 
in Devonshire as Sussex ? ' 

* Nay, my dear, I'm sure I don't pretend to say that there 



an't. I ? m sure there's a vast many smart beaux in Exeter ; 
but you know, how could I tell what smart beaux there might 
be about Norland ? and I was only afraid the Miss Dashwoods 
might find it dull at Barton, if they had not so many as they 
used to have. But perhaps you young ladies may not care 
about the beaux, and had as lief be without them as with 
them. For my part, I think they are vastly agreeable, provided 
they dress smart and behave civil. But I can't bear to see 
them dirty and nasty. Now there's Mr. Rose at Exeter, a pro- 
digious smart young man, quite a beau, clerk to Mr. Simpson, 
you know, and yet if you do but meet him of a morning, 
he is not fit to be seen. I suppose your brother was quite a 
beau, Miss Dash wood, before he married, as he was so rich ? ' 

* Upon my word,' replied Elinor, * I cannot tell you, for I 
do not perfectly comprehend the meaning of the word. But 
this I can say, that if he ever was a beau before he married, 
he is one still, for there is not the smallest alteration in him,' 

* Oh dear ! one never thinks of married men's being beaux 
— they have something else to do.' 

1 Lord ! Anne,' cried her sister, * you can talk of nothing 
but beaux ; you will make Miss Dashwood believe you think 
of nothing else.' And then, to turn the discourse, she began 
admiring the house and the furniture. 

This specimen of the Miss Steeles was enough. The 
vulgar freedom and folly of the eldest left her no recommend- 
ation ; and as Elinor was not blinded by the beauty or the 
shrewd look of the youngest to her want of real elegance and 
artlessness, she left the house without any wish of knowing 
them better. 

Not so the Miss Steeles. They came from Exeter well 
provided with admiration for the use of Sir John Middleton, 
his family, and all his relations ; and no niggardly proportion 
was now dealt out to his fair cousins, whom they declared to 
be the most beautiful, elegant, accomplished, and agreeable 
girls they had ever beheld, and with whom they were par- 
ticularly anxious to be better acquainted. And to be better 
acquainted, therefore, Elinor soon found was their inevitable 
lot ; for as Sir John was entirely on the side of the Miss 
Steeles, their party would be too strong for opposition, and 
that kind of intimacy must be submitted to which consists of 
sitting an hour or two together in the same room almost every 



day. Sir John could do no more ; but he did not know that 
any more was required: to be together was, in his opinion, to 
be intimate ; and while his continual schemes for their meet- 
ing were effectual, he had not a doubt of their being established 

To do him justice, he did everything in his power to 
promote their unreserve, by making the Miss Steeles acquainted 
with whatever he knew or supposed of his cousins 7 situations 
in the most delicate particulars ; and Elinor had not seen them 
more than twice, before the eldest of them wished her joy on 
her sister's having been so lucky as to make a conquest of a 
very smart beau since she came to Barton. 

' 'Twill be a fine thing to have her married so young, to be 
sure,' said she, * and I hear he is quite a beau, and prodigious 
handsome. And I hope you may have as good luck yourself 
soon ; but, perhaps, you may have a friend in the corner 

Elinor could not suppose that Sir John would be more nice 
in proclaiming his suspicions of her regard for Edward than 
he had been with respect to Marianne ; indeed, it was rather 
his favourite joke of the two, as being somewhat newer and 
more conjectural ; and since Edward's visit they had never 
dined together without his drinking to her best affections with 
so much significancy and so many nods and winks as to excite 
general attention. The letter F had been likewise invariably 
brought forward, and found productive of such countless jokes, 
that its character as the wittiest letter in the alphabet had 
been long established with Elinor. 

The Miss Steeles, as she expected, had now all the benefit 
of these jokes ; and in the eldest of them they raised a 
curiosity to know the name of the gentleman alluded to, 
which, though often impertinently expressed, was perfectly of 
a piece with her general inquisitiveness into the concerns of 
their family. But Sir John did not sport long with the curi- 
osity which he delighted to raise, for he had at least as 
much pleasure in telling the name as Miss Steele had in 
hearing it. 

* His name is Ferrars,' said he, in a very audible whisper ; 
' but pray do not tell it, for it's a great secret.' 

'Ferrars!' repeated Miss Steele; ' Mr.. Ferrars is the 
happy man, is he ? What 1 your sister-in-law's brother, Miss 

Drinking to her best affections. 


Dashwood ? a very agreeable young man to be sure ; I know 
him very well.' 

* How can you say so, Anne ? ' cried Lucy, who generally 
made an amendment to all her sister's assertions. * Though 
we have seen him once or twice at my uncle's, it is rather too 
much to pretend to know him very well.' 

Elinor heard all this with attention and surprise. 'And 
who was this uncle ? Where did he live ? How came they 
acquainted ? ' She wished very much to have the subject 
continued, though she did not choose to join in it herself; but 
nothing more of it was said, and, for the first time in her life, 
she thought Mrs. Jennings deficient either in curiosity after 
petty information, or in a disposition to communicate it. The 
manner in which Miss Steele had spoken of Edward increased 
her curiosity ; for it struck her as being rather ill-natured, and 
suggested the suspicion of that lady's knowing, or fancying 
herself to know, something to his disadvantage. But her 
curiosity was unavailing ; for no further notice was taken of 
Mr. Ferrars's name by Miss Steele when alluded to, or even 
openly mentioned by Sir John. 


Marianne, who had never much toleration for anything like 
impertinence, vulgarity, inferiority of parts, or even difference 
of taste from herself, was at this time particularly ill-disposed, 
from the state of her spirits, to be pleased with the Miss 
Steeles, or to encourage their advances ; and to the invariable 
coldness of her behaviour towards them, which checked every 
endeavour at intimacy on their side, Elinor principally attri- 
buted that preference of herself which soon became evident 
in the manners of both, but especially of Lucy, who missed no 
opportunity of engaging her in conversation, or of striving to 
improve their acquaintance by an easy and frank communica- 
tion of her sentiments. 

Lucy was naturally clever ; her remarks were often just 
and amusing ; and as a companion for half an hour Elinor 
frequently found her agreeable ; but her powers had received 


no aid from education : she was ignorant and illiterate ; and 
her deficiency of all mental improvement, her want of informa- 
tion in the most common particulars, could not be concealed 
from Miss Dashwood, in spite of her constant endeavour to 
appear to advantage. Elinor saw, and pitied her for the 
neglect of abilities which education might have rendered so 
respectable ; but she saw, with less tenderness of feeling, the 
thorough want of delicacy, of rectitude, and integrity of mind, 
which her attentions, her assiduities, her flatteries at the Park 
betrayed ; and she could have no lasting satisfaction in the 
company of a person who joined insincerity with ignorance ; 
whose want of instruction prevented their meeting in conversa- 
tion on terms of equality, and whose conduct towards others 
made every show of attention and deference towards herself 
perfectly valueless. 

* You will think my question an odd one, I daresay,' said 
Lucy to her one day, as they were walking together from the 
Park to the cottage ; * but, pray, are you personally acquainted 
with your sister-in-law's mother, Mrs. Ferrars ? ' 

Elinor did think the question a very odd one, and her 
countenance expressed it, as she answered that she had never 
seen Mrs. Ferrars. 

c Indeed ! ' replied Lucy ; £ I wonder at that, for I thought 
you must have seen her at Norland sometimes. Then, per- 
haps, you cannot tell me what sort of a woman she is ? ' 

' No,' returned Elinor, cautious of giving her real opinion of 
Edward's mother, and not very desirous of satisfying what 
seemed impertinent curiosity ; ' I know nothing of her. 5 

' I am sure you think me very strange, for inquiring about 
her in such a way,' said Lucy, eyeing Elinor attentively as she 
spoke ; ' but perhaps there may be reasons-^- 1 wish I might 
venture ; but, however, I hope you will do me the justice of 
believing that I do not mean to be impertinent.' 

Elinor made her a civil reply, and they walked on for a few 
minutes in silence. It was broken by Lucy, who renewed the 
subject again by saying, with some hesitation — 

1 1 cannot bear to have you think me impertinently curious. 
I am sure I would rather do anything in the world than be 
thought so by a person whose good opinion is so well worth 
having as yours. And I am sure I should not have the 
smallest fear of trusting you; indeed, I should be very glad of 
I 113 


your advice how to manage in such an uncomfortable situation 
as I am ; but, however, there is no occasion to trouble you. I 
am sorry you do not happen to know Mrs. Ferrars.' 

* I am sorry I do not] said Elinor, in great astonishment, 
* if it could be of any use to you to know my opinion of her. 
But really I never understood that you were at all connected 
with that family, and therefore I am a little surprised, I con- 
fess, at so serious an inquiry into her character.' 

* I daresay you are, and I am sure I do not at all wonder 
at it. But if I dared tell you all, you would not be so much 
surprised. Mrs. Ferrars is certainly nothing to me at present ; 
but the time may come — how soon it will come must depend 
upon herself — when we may be very intimately connected. ' 

She looked down as she said this, amiably bashful, with 
only one side glance at her companion to observe its effect 
on her. 

* Good heavens ! ' cried Elinor, ' what do you mean ? Are 
you acquainted with Mr. Robert Ferrars ? Can you be ? ' 
And she did not feel much delighted with the idea of such a 

'No/ replied Lucy, 'not to Mr. Robert Ferrars — I never 
saw him in my life ; but,' fixing her eyes upon Elinor, « to his 
elder brother. ' 

What felt Elinor at that moment? Astonishment, that 
would have been as painful as it was strong, had not an 
immediate disbelief of the assertion attended it. She turned 
towards Lucy in silent amazement, unable to divine the reason 
or object of such a declaration ; and though her complexion 
varied, she stood firm in incredulity, and felt in no danger of 
an hysterical fit, or a swoon. 

' You may well be surprised, 5 continued Lucy ; ' for to be 
sure you could have had no idea of it before ; for I daresay 
he never dropped the smallest hint of it to you or any of your 
family ; because it was always meant to be a great secret, and 
I am sure has been faithfully kept so by me to this hour. Not 
a soul of all my relations knows of it but Anne, and I never 
should have mentioned it to you, if I had not felt the greatest 
dependence in the world upon your secrecy ; and I really 
thought my behaviour in asking so many questions about Mrs. 
Ferrars must seem so odd that it ought to be explained. And 
I do not think Mr. Ferrars can be displeased, when he knows 


Amiably bashful. 


I have trusted you, because I know he has the highest opinion 
in the world of all your family, and looks upon yourself and 
the other Miss Dashwoods quite as his own sisters.' She paused. 

Elinor for a few moments remained silent. Her astonish- 
ment at what she heard was at first too great for words ; but 
at length forcing herself to speak, and to speak cautiously, she 
said, with a calmness of manner which tolerably well concealed 
her surprise and solicitude — * May I ask if your engagement is 
of long standing ? ' 

' We have been engaged these four years.' 

' Four years ! ' 


Elinor, though greatly shocked, still felt unable to believe it. 

1 1 did not know,' said she, ' that you were even acquainted 
till the other day.' 

I Our acquaintance, however, is of many years' date. He 
was under my uncle's care, you know, a considerable while.' 

4 Your uncle ! ' 

' Yes ; Mr. Pratt. Did you never hear him talk of Mr. 
Pratt ? ' 

I I think I have,' replied Elinor, with an exertion of spirits, 
which increased with her increase of emotion. 

' He was four years with my uncle, who lives at Longstaple, 
near Plymouth. It was there our acquaintance begun, for my 
sister and me was often staying with my uncle, and it was 
there our engagement was formed, though not till a year after 
he had quitted as a pupil ; but he was almost always with us 
afterwards. I was very unwilling to enter into it, as you may 
imagine, without the knowledge and approbation of his mother ; 
but I was too young, and loved him too well, to be so prudent 
as I ought to have been. Though you do not know him so 
well as me, Miss Dashwood, you must have seen enough of 
him to be sensible he is very capable of making a woman 
sincerely attached to him.' 

'Certainly,' answered Elinor, without knowing what she 
said ; but, after a moment's reflection, she added, with revived 
security of Edward's honour and love, and her companion's 
falsehood, — f Engaged to Mr. Edward Ferrars ! — I confess 
myself so totally surprised at what you tell me, that really — I 
beg your pardon ; but surely there must be some mistake of 
person or name e We cannot mean the same Mr. Ferrars.' 



'We can mean no other,' cried Lucy, smiling. 'Mr. 
Edward Ferrars, the eldest son of Mrs. Ferrars of Park Street, 
and brother of your sister-in-law, Mrs. John Dashwood, is the 
person I mean; you must allow that /am not likely to be 
deceived as to the name of the man on whom all my happiness 

* It is strange,' replied Elinor, in a most painful perplexity, 
'that I should never have heard him even mention your 

4 No ; considering our situation, it was not strange. Our 
first care has been to keep the matter secret. You knew 
nothing of me, or my family, and, therefore, there could be no 
occasion for ever mentioning my name to you ; and, as he was 
always particularly afraid of his sister's suspecting anything, 
that was reason enough for his not mentioning it.' > 

She was silent. Elinor's security sank ; but her self-com- 
mand did not sink with it. 

' Four years you have been engaged,' said she, with a firm 

* Yes ; and heaven knows how much longer we may have 
to wait. Poor Edward ! It puts him quite out of heart.' 
Then taking a small miniature from her pocket, she added, 
'To prevent the possibility of mistake, be so good as to look 
at this face. It does not do him justice, to be sure, but yet I 
think you cannot be deceived as to the person it was drew for. 
I have had it above these three years.' 

She put it into her hands as she spoke ; and when Elinor 
saw the painting, whatever other doubts her fear of a too hasty 
decision, or her wish of detecting falsehood, might suffer to 
linger in her mind, she could have none of its being Edward's 
face. She returned it almost instantly, acknowledging the 

' I have never been able,' continued Lucy, ' to give him my 
picture in return, which I am very much vexed at, for he has 
been always so anxious to get it ! But I am determined to sit 
for it the very first opportunity.' 

' You are quite in the right,' replied Elinor calmly. They 
then proceeded a few paces in silence. Lucy spoke first. 

1 1 am sure,' said she, * I have no doubt in the world of 
your faithfully keeping this secret, because you must know of 
what importance it is to us not to have it reach his mother ; 



for she would never approve of it, I daresay. I shall have 
no fortune, and I fancy she is an exceeding proud woman.' 

' I certainly did not seek your confidence,' said Elinor ; 
* but you do me no more than justice in imagining that I may 
be depended on. Your secret is safe with me ; but pardon me 
if I express some surprise at so unnecessary a communication. 
You must at least have felt that my being acquainted with it 
could not add to its safety.' 

As she said this, she looked earnestly at Lucy, hoping to 
discover something in her countenance ; perhaps the falsehood 
of the greatest part of what she had been saying ; but Lucy's 
countenance suffered no change. 

* I was afraid you would think I was taking a great liberty 
with you,' said she, * in telling you all this. I have not known 
you long, to be sure, personally at least, but I have known you 
and all your family by description a great while ; and as soon 
as I saw you, I felt almost as if you was an old acquaintance. 
Besides, in the present case, I really thought some explanation 
was due to you, after my making such particular inquiries 
about Edward's mother ; and I am so unfortunate, that I have 
not a creature whose advice I can ask. Anne is the only 
person that knows of it, and she has no judgment at all ; 
indeed, she does me a great deal more harm than good, for I 
am in constant fear of her betraying me. She does not know 
how to hold her tongue, as you must perceive ; and I am sure 
I was in the greatest fright in the world t'other day, when 
Edward's name was mentioned by Sir John, lest she should 
out with it all. You can't think how much I go through in my 
mind from it altogether. I only wonder that I am alive, after 
what I have suffered for Edward's sake these last four years. 
Everything in such suspense and uncertainty ; and seeing him 
so seldom — we can hardly meet above twice a year. I am 
sure I wonder my heart is not quite broke.' 

Here she took out her handkerchief; but Elinor did not 
feel very compassionate. 

* Sometimes,' continued Lucy, after wiping her eyes, ' I 
think whether it would not be better for us both to break off 
the matter entirely.' As she said this, she looked directly at 
her companion. * But then, at other times, I have not resolu- 
tion enough for it. I cannot bear the thoughts of making him 
so miserable, as I know the very mention of such a thing 



would do. And on my own account too — so dear as he is to 
me — I don't think I could be equal to it. What would you 
advise me to do in such a case, Miss Dashwood ? What 
would you do yourself?' 

1 Pardon me/ replied Elinor, startled by the question ; ' but 
I can give you no advice under such circumstances. Your 
own judgment must direct you.' 

e To be sure,' continued Lucy, after a few minutes' silence 
on both sides, f his mother must provide for him some time or 
other ; but poor Edward is so cast down about it ! Did not 
you think him dreadful low-spirited when he was at Barton ? 
He was so miserable when he left us at Longstaple, to go to. 
you, that I was afraid you would think him quite ill.' 

1 Did he come from your uncle's, then, when he visited us ? ' 

' Oh yes ; he had been staying a fortnight with us. Did 
you think he came directly from town ? ' 

* No,' replied Elinor, most feelingly sensible of every fresh 
circumstance in favour of Lucy's veracity ; c I remember he 
told us that he had been staying a fortnight with some friends 
near Plymouth.' She remembered, too, her own surprise at 
the time, at his mentioning nothing further of those friends, 
at his total silence with respect even to their names. 

6 Did not you think him sadly out of spirits ? ' repeated 

1 We did, indeed, particularly so when he first arrived.' 

' I begged him to exert himself for fear you should suspect 
what was the matter ; but it made him so melancholy, not 
being able to stay more than a fortnight with us, and seeing 
me so much affected. Poor fellow ! I am afraid it is just the 
same with him now ; for he writes in wretched spirits. I 
heard from him just before I left Exeter ' ; taking a letter from 
her pocket, and carelessly showing the direction to Elinor. 
' You know his hand, I daresay, — a charming one it is ; but 
that is not written so well as usual. He was tired, I daresay, 
for he had just filled the sheet to me as full as possible.' 

Elinor saw that it was his hand, and she could doubt no 
longer. The picture, she had allowed herself to believe, 
might have been accidentally obtained; it might not have 
been Edward's gift ; but a correspondence between them by 
letter could subsist only under a positive engagement, could 
be authorised by nothing else : for a few moments she was 



almost overcome — her heart sank within her, and she could 
hardly stand ; but exertion was indispensably necessary ; and 
she struggled so resolutely against the oppression of her feel- 
ings that her success was speedy, and for the time complete. 

'Writing to each other/ said Lucy, returning the letter 
into her pocket, 'is the only comfort we have in such long 
separations. Yes, / have one other comfort in his picture ; but 
poor Edward has not even that. If he had but my picture, 
he says he should be easy. I gave him a lock of my hair set 
in a ring when he was at Longstaple last, and that was some 
comfort to him, he said, but not equal to a picture. Perhaps 
you might notice the ring when you saw him ? ' 

f I did,' said Elinor, with a composure of voice under 
which was concealed an emotion and distress beyond any- 
thing she had ever felt before.' She was mortified, shocked, 

Fortunately for her, they had now reached the cottage, and 
the conversation could be continued no further. After sitting 
with them a few minutes, the Miss Steeles returned to the 
Park, and Elinor was then at liberty to think and be wretched. 


However small Elinor's general dependence on Lucy's 
veracity might be, it was impossible for her, on serious re- 
flection, to suspect it in the present case, where no temptation 
could be answerable to the folly of inventing a falsehood of 
such a description. What Lucy had asserted to be true, 
therefore, Elinor could not, dared not, longer doubt ; supported 
as it was, too, on every side by such probabilities and proofs, 
and contradicted by nothing but her own wishes. Their 
opportunity of acquaintance in the house of Mr. Pratt was a 
foundation for the rest, at once indisputable and alarming ; 
and Edward's visit near Plymouth, his melancholy state of 
mind, his dissatisfaction at his own prospects, his uncertain 
behaviour towards herself, the intimate knowledge of the Miss 
Steeles as to Norland and their family connections, which had 
often surprised her, the picture, the letter, the ring, formed 


altogether such a body of evidence as overcame every fear of 
condemning him unfairly, and established as a fact, which no 
partiality could set aside, his ill-treatment of herself. Her 
resentment of such behaviour, her indignation at having been 
its dupe, for a short time made her feel only for herself; but 
other ideas, other considerations, soon arose. Had Edward 
been intentionally deceiving her ? Had he feigned a regard 
for her which he did not feel ? Was his engagement to Lucy 
an engagement of the heart ? No ; whatever it might once 
have been, she could not believe it such at present. His 
affection was all her own. She could not be deceived in that. 
Her mother, sisters, Fanny, all had been conscious of his 
regard for her at Norland ; it was not an illusion of her own 
vanity. He certainly loved her. What a softener of the 
heart was this persuasion ! How much could it not tempt her 
to forgive ! He had been blamable, highly blamable, in re- 
maining at Norland after he first felt her influence over him 
to be more than it ought to be. In that he could not be 
defended ; but if he had injured her, how much more had he 
injured himself; if her case were pitiable, his was hopeless. 
His imprudence had made her miserable for a while ; but it 
seemed to have deprived himself of all chance of ever being 
otherwise. She might in time regain tranquillity ; but he, 
what had he to look forward to ? Could he ever be tolerably 
happy with Lucy Steele ; could he, were his affection for 
herself out of the question, with his integrity, his delicacy, and 
well-informed mind, be satisfied with a wife like her — illiterate, 
artful, and selfish ? 

The youthful infatuation of nineteen would naturally blind 
him to everything but her beauty and good nature ; but the 
four succeeding years — years which, if rationally spent, give 
such improvement to the understanding — must have opened 
his eyes to her defects of education, while the same period of 
time, spent on her side in inferior society and more frivolous 
pursuits, had perhaps robbed her of that simplicity which 
might once have given an interesting character to her beauty. 

If in the supposition of his seeking to marry herself his 
difficulties from his mother had seemed great, how much 
greater were they now likely to be when the object of his 
engagement was undoubtedly inferior in connections, and 
probably inferior in fortune, to herself. These difficulties, 


indeed, with a heart so alienated from Lucy, might not press 
very hard upon his patience ; but melancholy was the state of 
the person by whom the expectation of family opposition and 
unkindness could be felt as a relief! 

As these considerations occurred to her in painful succession, 
she wept for him more than for herself. Supported by the 
conviction of having done nothing to merit her present un- 
happiness, and consoled by the belief that Edward had done 
nothing to forfeit her esteem, she thought she could even now, 
under the first smart of the heavy blow, command herself 
enough to guard every suspicion of the truth from her mother 
and sisters. And so well was she able to answer her own 
expectations, that when she joined them at dinner, only two 
hours after she had first suffered the extinction of all her 
dearest hopes, no one would have supposed from the appear- 
ance of the sisters that Elinor was mourning in secret over 
obstacles which must divide her for ever from the object of 
her love, and that Marianne was internally dwelling on the 
perfections of a man of whose whole heart she felt thoroughly 
possessed, and whom she expected to see in every carriage 
which drove near their house. 

The necessity of concealing from her mother and Marianne 
what had been intrusted in confidence to herself, though it 
obliged her to unceasing exertion, was no aggravation of 
Elinor's distress. On the contrary, it was a relief to her to 
be spared the communication of what would give such affliction 
to them, and to be saved likewise from hearing that con- 
demnation of Edward, which would probably flow from the 
excess of their partial affection for herself, and which was 
more than she felt equal to support. 

From their counsel, or their conversation, she knew she 
could receive no assistance ; their tenderness and sorrow must 
add to her distress, while her self-command would neither 
receive encouragement from their example nor from their 
praise. She was stronger alone ; and her own good sense so 
well supported her, that her firmness was as unshaken, her 
appearance of cheerfulness as invariable, as, with regrets so 
poignant and so fresh, it was possible for them to be. 

Much as she had suffered from her first conversation with 
Lucy on the subject, she soon felt an earnest wish of renewing 
it ; and this for more reasons than one. She wanted to hear 



many particulars of their engagement repeated again ! she 
wanted more clearly to understand what Lucy really felt for 
Edward, whether there were any sincerity in her declaration 
of tender regard for him ; and she particularly wanted to 
convince Lucy, by her readiness to enter on the matter again, 
and her calmness in conversing on it, that she was no other- 
wise interested in it than as a friend, which she very much 
feared her involuntary agitation, in their morning discourse, 
must have left at least doubtful. That Lucy was disposed to 
be jealous of her appeared very probable : it was plain that 
Edward had always spoken highly in her praise, not merely 
from Lucy's assertion, but from her venturing to trust her on 
so short a personal acquaintance with a secret so confessedly 
and evidently important. And even Sir John's joking in- 
telligence must have had some weight. But, indeed, while 
Elinor remained so well assured within herself of being really 
beloved by Edward, it required no other consideration of 
probabilities to make it natural that Lucy should be jealous ; 
and that she was so, her very confidence was a proof. What 
other reason for the disclosure of the affair could there be, 
but that Elinor might be informed by it of Lucy's superior 
claims on Edward, and be taught to avoid him in future? 
She had little difficulty in understanding thus much of her 
rival's intentions ; and while she was firmly resolved to act 
by her as every principle of honour and honesty directed, to 
combat her own affection for Edward, and to see him as little 
as possible, she could not deny herself the comfort of en- 
deavouring to convince Lucy that her heart was unwounded. 
And as she could now have nothing more painful to hear on 
the subject than had already been told, she did not mistrust her 
own ability of going through a repetition of particulars with 

But it was not immediately that an opportunity of doing so 
could be commanded, though Lucy was as well disposed as 
herself to take advantage of any that occurred ; for the 
weather was not often fine enough to allow of their joining 
in a walk, where they might most easily separate themselves 
from the others ; and though they met at least every other 
evening either at the Park or cottage, and chiefly at the 
former, they could not be supposed to meet for the sake of 
conversation. Such a thought would never enter either Sir 



John or Lady Middleton's head \ and therefore very little 
leisure was ever given for general chat, and none at all for 
particular discourse. They met for the sake of eating, 
drinking, and laughing together, playing at cards, or con- 
sequences, or any other game that was sufficiently noisy. 

One or two meetings of this kind had taken place, without 
affording Elinor any chance of engaging Lucy in private, when 
Sir John called at the cottage one morning, to beg, in the name 
of charity, that they would all dine with Lady Middleton that 
day, as he was obliged to attend the club at Exeter, and she 
would otherwise be quite alone, except her mother and the two 
Miss Steeles. Elinor, who foresaw a fairer opening for the 
point she had in view in such a party as this was likely to be, 
more at liberty among themselves under the tranquil and well- 
bred direction of Lady Middleton than when her husband united 
them together in one noisy purpose, immediately accepted the 
invitation ; Margaret, with her mother's permission, was equally 
compliant ; and Marianne, though always unwilling to join any 
of their parties, was persuaded by her mother, who could not 
bear to have her seclude herself from any chance of amusement, 
to go likewise. 

The young ladies went, and Lady Middleton was happily 
preserved from the frightful solitude which had threatened her. 
The insipidity of the meeting was exactly such as Elinor had 
expected ; it produced not one novelty of thought or expression ; 
and nothing could be less interesting than the whole of their 
discourse both in the dining parlour and drawing-room : to 
the latter the children accompanied them ; and while they 
remained there she was too well convinced of the impossibility 
of engaging Lucy's attention to attempt it. They quitted it 
only with the removal of the tea-things. The card-table was 
then placed ; and Elinor began to wonder at herself for having 
ever entertained a hope of finding time for conversation at the 
Park. They all rose up in preparation for a round game. 

4 1 am glad,' said Lady Middleton to Lucy, * you are not 
going to finish poor little Anna-Maria's basket this evening ; 
for I am sure it must hurt your eyes to work filigree by candle- 
light. And we will make the dear little love some amends for 
her disappointment to-morrow, and then I hope she will not 
much mind it.' 

This hint was enough, Lucy recollected herself instantly, and 


replied, ' Indeed you are very much mistaken, Lady Middleton ; 
I am only waiting to know whether you can make your party 
without me, or I should have been at my filigree already. I 
would not disappoint the little angel for all the world ; and if 
you want me at the card-table now, I am resolved to finish the 
basket after supper.' 

' You are very good, — I hope it won't hurt your eyes : — 
will you ring the bell for some working candles ? My poor 
little girl would be sadly disappointed, I know, if the basket 
was not finished to-morrow ; for though I told her it certainly 
would not, I am sure she depends upon having it done.' 

Lucy directly drew her work-table near her, and reseated 
herself with an alacrity and cheerfulness which seemed to 
infer that she could taste no greater delight than in making 
a filigree basket for a spoilt child. 

Lady Middleton proposed a rubber of Cassino to the others. 
No one made any objection but Marianne, who, with her usual 
inattention to the forms of general civility, exclaimed, 'Your 
Ladyship will have the goodness to excuse me — you know I 
detest cards. I shall go to the pianoforte ; I have not touched 
it since it was tuned.' And, without further ceremony, she 
turned away and walked to the instrument. 

Lady Middleton looked as if she thanked Heaven that she 
had never made so rude a speech. 

' Marianne can never keep long from that instrument, you 
know, ma'am/ said Elinor, endeavouring to smooth away the 
offence ; * and I do not much wonder at it ; for it is the very 
best toned pianoforte I ever heard.' 

The remaining five were now to draw their cards. 

' Perhaps,' continued Elinor, ' if I should happen to cut out, 
I may be of some use to Miss Lucy Steele, in rolling her 
papers for her ; and there is so much still to be done to the 
basket, that it must be impossible, I think, for her labour, 
singly, to finish it this evening. I should like the work ex- 
ceedingly, if she would allow me a share in it.' 

' Indeed I shall be very much obliged to you for your help,' 
cried Lucy, ' for I find there is more to be done to it than I 
thought there was ; and it would be a shocking thing to dis- 
appoint dear Anna-Maria after all.' 

'Oh, that would be terrible, indeed,' said Miss Steele. 
< Dear little soul, how I do love her ! ' 

I2 5 


* You are very kind,' said Lady Middleton to Elinor ; * and 
as you really like the work, perhaps you will be as well pleased 
not to cut in till another rubber, or will you take your chance 

Elinor joyfully profited by the first of these proposals, and 
thus, by a little of that address which Marianne could never 
condescend to practise, gained her own end, and pleased Lady 
Middleton at the same time. Lucy made room for her with 
ready attention ; and the two fair rivals were thus seated, 
side by side, at the same table, and with the utmost harmony, 
engaged in forwarding the same work. The pianoforte, at 
which Marianne, wrapped up in her own music and her own 
thoughts, had by this time forgotten that anybody was in the 
room besides herself, was luckily so near them, that Miss 
Dash wood now judged she might safely, under the shelter of 
its noise, introduce the interesting subject, without any risk of 
being heard at the card-table. 


In a firm, though cautious tone, Elinor thus began : — 

1 1 should be undeserving of the confidence you have 
honoured me with, if I felt no desire for its continuance, or 
no further curiosity on its subject. I will not apologise, there- 
fore, for bringing it forward again.' 

' Thank you,' cried Lucy warmly, * for breaking the ice : 
you have set my heart at ease by it ; for I was, somehow or 
other, afraid I had offended you by what I told you that 
Monday. 5 

1 Offended me ! How could you suppose so ? Believe me,' 
and Elinor spoke it with the truest sincerity, ' nothing could be 
further from my intention than to give you such an idea. Could 
you have a motive for the trust, that was not honourable and 
flattering to me ? ' 

c And yet, I do assure you,' replied Lucy, her little sharp 
eyes full of meaning, * there seemed to me to be a coldness 
and displeasure in your manner, that made me quite uncom- 
fortable. I felt sure that you was angry with me ; and have 



been quarrelling with myself ever since, for having took such 
a liberty as to trouble you with my affairs. But I am very 
glad to find it was only my own fancy, and that you do not 
really blame me. If you knew what a consolation it was to 
me to relieve my heart by speaking to you of what I am always 
thinking of every moment of my life, your compassion would 
make you overlook everything else, I am sure.' 

c Indeed, I can easily believe that it was a very great relief 
to you to acknowledge your situation to me, and be assured 
that you shall never have reason to repent it. Your case is a 
very unfortunate one ; you seem to me to be surrounded with 
difficulties ; and you will have need of all your mutual affection 
to support you under them. Mr. Ferrars, I believe, is entirely 
dependent on his mother.' 

' He has only two thousand pounds of his own : it would 
be madness to marry upon that ; though, for my own part, I 
could give up every prospect of more without a sigh. I have 
been always used to a very small income, and could struggle 
with any poverty for him ; but I love him too well to be the 
selfish means of robbing him, perhaps, of all that his mother 
might give him if he married to please her. We must wait, 
it may be for many years. With almost every other man in 
the world, it would be an alarming prospect ; but Edward's 
affection and constancy nothing can deprive me of, I know.' 

' That conviction must be everything to you ; and he is, 
undoubtedly, supported by the same trust in yours. If the 
strength of your reciprocal attachment had failed, as between 
many people, and under many circumstances, it naturally 
would, during a four years' engagement, your situation would 
have been pitiable indeed. 5 

Lucy here looked up ; but Elinor was careful in guarding 
her countenance from every expression *that could give her 
words a suspicious tendency. 

* Edward's love for me,' said Lucy, ' has been pretty well 
put to the test, by our long, very long absence, since we were 
first engaged, and it has stood the trial so well that I should 
be unpardonable to doubt it now. I can safely say that he 
has never gave me one moment's alarm on that account from 
the first.' 

Elinor hardly knew whether to smile or sigh at this 



Lucy went on. * I am rather of a jealous temper, too, by 
nature ; and from our different situations in life, from his 
being so much more in the world than me, and our continual 
separation, I was enough inclined for suspicion to have found 
out the truth in an instant if there had been the slightest 
alteration in his behaviour to me when we met, or any lowness 
of spirits that I could not account for, or if he had talked 
more of one lady than another, or seemed in any respect less 
happy at Longstaple than he used to be. I do not mean to 
say that I am particularly observant or quick-sighted in general, 
but in such a case I am sure I could not be deceived.' 

' All this/ thought Elinor, * is very pretty ; but it can im- 
pose upon neither of us.' 

* But what,' said she, after a short silence, * are your views ? 
or have you none but that of waiting for Mrs. Ferrars's death, 
which is a melancholy and shocking extremity ? Is her son 
determined to submit to this, and to all the tediousness of the 
many years of suspense in which it may involve you, rather 
than run the risk of her displeasure for a while by owning the 
truth ? ' 

1 If we could be certain that it would be only for a while ! 
But Mrs. Ferrars is a very headstrong, proud woman, and in 
her first fit of anger upon hearing it would very likely secure 
everything to Robert ; and the idea of that, for Edward's sake, 
frightens away all my inclination for hasty measures. 5 

' And for your own sake too, or you are carrying your dis- 
interestedness beyond reason.' 

Lucy looked at Elinor again, and was silent. 

* Do you know Mr. Robert Ferrars ? ' asked Elinor. 

* Not at all — I never saw him; but I fancy he is very 
unlike his brother — silly, and a great coxcomb.' 

'A great coxcomb!' repeated Miss Steele, whose ear had 
caught those words by a sudden pause in Marianne's music. 
* Oh, they are talking of their favourite beaux, I daresay.' 

* No, sister,' cried Lucy, * you are mistaken there, — our 
favourite beaux are not great coxcombs.' 

* I can answer for it that Miss Dash wood's is not, 5 said 
Mrs. Jennings, laughing heartily; 'for he is one of the 
modestest, prettiest behaved young men I ever saw ; but a.s 
for Lucy, she is such a sly little creature, there is no finding 
out who she likes.' 


' / can answer for it, said Mrs. Jennings. 


' Oh,' cried Miss Steele, looking significantly round at them, 
i I daresay Lucy ; s beau is quite as modest and pretty behaved 
as Miss Dashwood's.' 

Elinor blushed in spite of herself. Lucy bit her lip, and 
looked angrily at her sister. A mutual silence took place for 
some time. Lucy first put an end to it by saying, in a lower 
tone, though Marianne was then giving them the powerful pro- 
tection of a very magnificent concerto — 

* I will honestly tell you of one scheme which has lately 
come into my head for bringing matters to bear ; indeed I am 
bound to let you into the secret, for you are a party concerned. 
I daresay you have seen enough of Edward to know that he 
would prefer the church to every other profession ; now my 
plan is, that he should take orders as soon as he can ; and 
then, through your interest, which I am sure you would be 
kind enough to use out of friendship for him, and I hope out of 
some regard to me, your brother might be persuaded to give 
him Norland living, which I understand is a very good one, 
and the present incumbent not likely to live a great while. 
That would be enough for us to marry upon, and we might 
trust to time and chance for the rest.' 

* I should be always happy/ replied Elinor, ( to show any 
mark of my esteem and friendship for Mr. Ferrars ; but do 
not you perceive that my interest on such an occasion would be 
perfectly unnecessary ? He is brother to Mrs. John Dashwood 
— that must be recommendation enough to her husband.' 

'But Mrs. John Dashwood would not much approve of 
Edward's going into orders.' 

' Then I rather suspect that my interest would do very 

They were again silent for many minutes. At length Lucy 
exclaimed, with a deep sigh — 

' I believe it would be the wisest way to put an end to the 
business at once by dissolving the engagement. We seem so 
beset with difficulties on every side, that though it would make 
us miserable for a time, we should be happier perhaps in the 
end. But you will not give me your advice, Miss Dashwood ?' 

* No, ; answered Elinor, with a smile, which concealed very 
agitated feelings ; ' on such a subject I certainly will not. You 
know very well that my opinion would have no weight with 
you, unless it were on the side of your wishes,' 



1 Indeed you wrong me/ replied Lucy, with great solemnity ; 

* I know nobody of whose judgment I think so highly as I do 
of yours ; and I do really believe, that if you was to say to 
me, " I advise you by all means to put an end to your engage- 
ment with Edward Ferrars, it will be more for the happiness 
of both of you," I should resolve upon doing it immediately.' 

Elinor blushed for the insincerity of Edward's future wife, 
and replied, c This compliment would effectually frighten me 
from giving any opinion on the subject, had I formed one. It 
raises my influence much too high : the power of dividing two 
people so tenderly attached is too much for an indifferent 

<'Tis because you are an indifferent person,' said Lucy, 
with some pique, and laying a particular stress on those words, 

* that your judgment might justly have such weight with me. 
If you could be supposed to be biassed in any respect by 
your own feelings, your opinion would not be worth having.' 

Elinor thought it wisest to make no answer to this, lest 
they might provoke each other to an unsuitable increase of 
ease and unreserve ; and was even partly determined never to 
mention the subject again. Another pause, therefore, of many 
minutes' duration, succeeded this speech, and Lucy was still 
the first to end it. 

' Shall you be in town this winter, Miss Dashwood ? ; said 
she, with all her accustomary complacency. 

c Certainly not.' 

* I am sorry for that,' returned the other, while her eyes 
brightened at the information ; c it would have gave me such 
pleasure to meet you there ! But I daresay you will go for all 
that. To be sure, your brother and sister will ask you to 
come to them.' 

* It will not be in my power to accept their invitation if 
they do.' 

4 How unlucky that is ! I had quite depended upon 
meeting you there. Anne and me are to go the latter end of 
January to some relations who have been wanting us to visit 
them these several years. But I only go for the sake of 
seeing Edward. He will be there in February, otherwise 
London would have no charms for me ; I have not spirits 
for it.' 

Elinor was soon called to the card-table by the conclusion 



of the first rubber, and the confidential discourse of the two 
ladies was therefore at an end ; to which both of them sub- 
mitted without any reluctance, for nothing had been said on 
either side to make them dislike each other less than they had 
done before ; and Elinor sat down to the card-table with the 
melancholy persuasion that Edward was not only without 
affection for the person who was to be his wife, but that he 
had not even the chance of being tolerably happy in marriage, 
which sincere affection on her side would have given ; for self- 
interest alone could induce a woman to keep a man to an 
engagement of which she seemed so thoroughly aware that he 
was weary. 

From this time the subject was never revived by Elinor ; 
and when entered on by Lucy, who seldom missed an oppor- 
tunity of introducing it, and was particularly careful to inform 
her confidante of her happiness whenever she received a letter 
from Edward, it was treated by the former with calmness and 
caution, and dismissed as soon as civility would allow ; for 
she felt such conversations to be an indulgence which Lucy 
did not deserve, and which were dangerous to herself. 

The visit of the Miss Steeles at Barton Park was lengthened 
far beyond what the first invitation implied. Their favour 
increased ; they could not be spared ; Sir John would not hear 
of their going; and in spite of their numerous and long- 
arranged engagements in Exeter, in spite of the absolute 
necessity of their returning to fulfil them immediately, which 
was in full force at the end of every week, they were prevailed 
on to stay nearly two months at the Park, and to assist in the 
due celebration of that festival which requires a more than 
ordinary share of private balls and large dinners to proclaim 
its importance. 


THOUGH Mrs. Jennings was in the habit of spending a large 
portion of the year at the houses of her children and friends, 
she was not without a settled habitation of her own. Since 
the death of her husband, who had traded with success in a 
less elegant part of the town, she had resided every winter in 



a house in one of the streets near Portman Square. Towards 
this home she began, on the approach of January, to turn her 
thoughts ; and thither she one day abruptly, and very un- 
expectedly by them, asked the elder Miss Dashwoods to 
accompany her. Elinor, without observing the varying com- 
plexion of her sister, and the animated look which spoke no 
indifference to the plan, immediately gave a grateful but 
absolute denial for both, in which she believed herself to be 
speaking their united inclinations. The reason alleged was 
their determined resolution of not leaving their mother at that 
time of the year. Mrs. Jennings received the refusal with 
some surprise, and repeated her invitation immediately. 

1 Oh, Lord ! I am sure your mother can spare you very 
well, and I do beg you will favour me with your company, for 
I've quite set my heart upon it. Don't fancy that you will be 
any inconvenience to me, for I shan't put myself at all out of 
my way for you. It will only be sending Betty by the coach, 
and I hope I can afford that. We three shall be able to go 
very well in my chaise ; and when we are in town, if you do 
not like to go wherever I do, well and good, you may always 
go with one of my daughters. I am sure your mother will not 
object to it ; for I have had such good luck in getting my own 
children off my hands that she will think me a very fit person 
to have the charge of you ; and if I don't get one of you at 
least well married before I have done with you it shall not be 
my fault. I shall speak a good word for you to all the young 
men, you may depend upon it. 5 

* I have a notion,' said Sir John, ' that Miss Marianne 
would not object to such a scheme if her eldest sister would 
come into it. It is very hard indeed that she should not 
have a little pleasure, because Miss Dashwood does not wish 
it. So I would advise you two to set off for town, when you 
are tired of Barton, without saying a word to Miss Dashwood 
about it.' 

' Nay,' cried Mrs. Jennings, ' I am sure I shall be 
monstrous glad of Miss Marianne's company, whether Miss 
Dashwood will go or not, only the more the merrier say I, 
and I thought it would be more comfortable for them to be 
together ; because if they got tired of me they might talk to 
one another, and laugh at my odd ways behind my back. But 
one or the other, if not both of them, I must have. Lord 


bless me ! how do you think I can live poking by myself, I 
who have been always used, till this winter, to have Charlotte 
with me ? Come, Miss Marianne, let us strike hands upon the 
bargain, and if Miss Dashwood will change her mind by and 
by, why, so much the better.' 

< I thank you, ma'am, sincerely thank you,' said Marianne 
with warmth : * your invitation has ensured my gratitude for 
ever; and it would give me such happiness, yes, almost the 
greatest happiness I am capable of, to be able to accept it. 
But my mother, my dearest, kindest mother — I feel the 
justice of what Elinor has urged, and if she were to be made 
less happy, less comfortable, by our absence — oh no, nothing 
should tempt me to leave her. It should not, must not, be a 

Mrs. Jennings repeated her assurance that Mrs. Dashwood 
could spare them perfectly well ; and Elinor, who now under- 
stood her sister, and saw to what indifference to almost every- 
thing else she was carried by her eagerness to be with 
Willoughby again, made no further direct opposition to the 
plan, and merely referred it to her mother's decision, from 
whom, however, she scarcely expected to receive any support 
in her endeavour to prevent a visit which she could not 
approve of for Marianne, and which, on her own account, she 
had particular reasons to avoid. Whatever Marianne was 
desirous of, her mother would be eager to promote : — she 
could not expect to influence the latter to cautiousness of 
conduct in an affair respecting which she had never been able 
to inspire her with distrust; and she dared not explain the 
motive of her own disinclination for going to London. That 
Marianne, fastidious as she was, thoroughly acquainted with 
Mrs. Jennings's manners, and invariably disgusted by them, 
should overlook every inconvenience of that kind, should 
disregard whatever must be most wounding to her irritable 
feelings, in her pursuit of one object, was such a proof, so 
strong, so full of the importance of that object to her, as 
Elinor, in spite of all that had passed, was not prepared to 

On being informed of the invitation, Mrs. Dashwood, 
persuaded that such an excursion would be productive of 
much amusement to both her daughters, and perceiving, 
through all her affectionate attention to herself, how much the 



heart of Marianne was in it, would not hear of their declining 
the offer upon her account ; insisted on their both accepting it 
directly ; and then began to foresee, with her usual cheerfulness, 
a variety of advantages that would accrue to them all from 
this separation. 

'I am delighted with the plan,' she cried; 'it is exactly 
what I could wish. Margaret and I shall be as much benefited 
by it as yourselves. When you and the Middletons are gone, 
we shall go on so quietly and happily together with our books 
and our music ! You will find Margaret so improved when 
you come back again ! And I have a little plan of alteration 
for your bedrooms too, which may now be performed without 
inconvenience to any one. It is very right that you should go 
to town ; I would have every young woman of your condition 
in life acquainted with the manners and amusements of London. 
You will be under the care of a motherly good sort of woman, of 
whose kindness to you I can have no doubt. And in all prob- 
ability you will see your brother; and whatever may be his 
faults, or the faults of his wife, when I consider whose son he is, 
I cannot bear to have you so wholly estranged from each other.' 

* Though, with your usual anxiety for our happiness, 3 said 
Elinor, 'you have been obviating every impediment to the 
present scheme which occurred to you, there is still one objec- 
tion which, in my opinion, cannot be so easily removed.' 

Marianne's countenance sank. 

'And what,' said Mrs. Dashwood, 'is my dear, prudent 
Elinor going to suggest? What formidable obstacle is she 
now to bring forward ? Do not let me hear a word about the 
expense of it.' 

' My objection is this : though I think very well of Mrs. 
Jennings's heart, she is not a woman whose society can afford 
us pleasure, or whose protection will give us consequence.' 

' That is very true,' replied her mother : ' but of her society 
separately from that of other people you will scarcely have 
anything at all, and you will almost always appear in public 
with Lady Middleton.' 

' If Elinor is frightened away by her dislike of Mrs. 
Jennings,' said Marianne, 'at least it need not prevent my 
accepting her invitation. I have no such scruples ; and I am 
sure I could put up with every unpleasantness of that kind 
with very little effort.' 



Elinor could not help smiling at this display of indifference 
towards the manners of a person to whom she had often had 
difficulty in persuading Marianne to behave with tolerable 
politeness ; and resolved within herself, that if her sister per- 
sisted in going, she would go likewise, as she did not think it 
proper that Marianne should be left to the sole guidance of 
her own judgment, or that Mrs. Jennings should be abandoned 
to the mercy of Marianne for all the comfort of her domestic 
hours. To this determination she was the more easily 
reconciled by recollecting that Edward Ferrars, by Lucy's 
account, was not to be in town before February ; and that 
their visit, without any unreasonable abridgment, might be 
previously finished. 

* I will have you both go,' said Mrs. Dashwood ; ' these 
objections are nonsensical. You will have much pleasure in 
being in London, and especially in being together ; and if 
Elinor would ever condescend to anticipate enjoyment, she 
would foresee it there from a variety of sources ; she would, 
perhaps, expect some from improving her acquaintance with 
her sister-in-law's family.' 

Elinor had often wished for an opportunity of attempting 
to weaken her mother's dependence on the attachment of 
Edward and herself, that the shock might be the less when 
the whole truth were revealed ; and now, on this attack, though 
almost hopeless of success, she forced herself to begin her 
design by saying, as calmly as she could, * I like Edward 
Ferrars very much, and shall always be glad to see him ; but 
as to the rest of the family, it is a matter of perfect indifference 
to me whether I am ever known to them or not.' 

Mrs. Dashwood smiled, and said nothing. Marianne lifted 
up her eyes in astonishment, and Elinor conjectured that she 
might as well have held her tongue. 

After very little further discourse, it was finally settled 
that the invitation should be fully accepted. Mrs. Jennings 
received the information with a great deal of joy, and many 
assurances of kindness and care ; nor was it a matter of 
pleasure merely to her. Sir John was delighted ; for to a 
man, whose prevailing anxiety was the dread of being alone, 
the acquisition of two to the number of inhabitants in London 
was something. Even Lady Middleton took the trouble 
of being delighted, which was putting herself rather out of 



her way ; and as for the Miss Steeles, especially Lucy, they 
had never been so happy in their lives as this intelligence 
made them. 

Elinor submitted to the arrangement which counteracted 
her wishes with less reluctance than she had expected to feel. 
With regard to herself, it was now a matter of unconcern 
whether she went to town or not; and when she saw her 
mother so thoroughly pleased with the plan, and her sister 
exhilarated by it in look, voice, and manner, restored to all 
her usual animation, and elevated to more than her usual 
gaiety, she could not be dissatisfied with the cause, and would 
hardly allow herself to distrust the consequence. 

Marianne's joy was almost a degree beyond happiness, so 
great was the perturbation of her spirits, and her impatience 
to be gone. Her unwillingness to quit her mother was her 
only restorative to calmness ; and at the moment of parting 
her grief on that score was excessive. Her mother's affliction 
was hardly less ; and Elinor was the only one of the three 
who seemed to consider the separation as anything short of 

Their departure took place in the first week in January. 
The Middletons were to follow in about a week. The Miss 
Steeles kept their station at the Park, and were to quit it only 
with the rest of the family. 


Elinor could not find herself in the carriage with Mrs. 
Jennings, and beginning a journey to London under her 
protection, and as her guest, without wondering at her own 
situation, so short had their acquaintance with that lady been, 
so wholly unsuited were they in age and disposition, and so 
many had been her objections against such a measure only 
a few days before ! But these objections had all, with that 
happy ardour of youth which Marianne and her mother equally 
shared, been overcome or overlooked ; and Elinor, in spite 
of every occasional doubt of Willoughby's constancy, could 
not witness the rapture of delightful expectation which filled 



the whole soul and beamed in the eyes of Marianne, without 
feeling- how blank was her own prospect, how cheerless her 
own state of mind in the comparison, and how gladly she 
would engage in the solicitude of Marianne's situation to have 
the same animating object in view, the same possibility of 
hope. A short, a very short time, however, must now decide 
what Willoughby's intentions were ; in all probability he was 
already in town. Marianne's eagerness to be gone declared her 
dependence on finding him there ; and Elinor was resolved 
not only upon gaining every new light as to his character which 
her own observation or the intelligence of others could give 
her, but likewise upon watching his behaviour to her sister 
with such zealous attention as to ascertain what he was, and 
what he meant, before many meetings had taken place. 
Should the result of her observations be unfavourable, she 
was determined, at all events, to open the eyes of her sister ; 
should it be otherwise, her exertions would be of a different 
nature ; — she must then learn to avoid every selfish comparison, 
and banish every regret which might lessen her satisfaction in 
the happiness of Marianne. 

They were three days on their journey, and Marianne's 
behaviour, as they travelled, was a happy specimen of what her 
future complaisance and companionableness to Mrs. Jennings 
might be expected to be. She sat in silence almost all the way, 
wrapt in her own meditations, and scarcely ever voluntarily 
speaking, except when any object of picturesque beauty within 
their view drew from her an exclamation of delight exclusively 
addressed to her sister. To atone for this conduct, therefore, 
Elinor took immediate possession of the post of civility which 
she had assigned herself, behaved with the greatest attention 
to Mrs. Jennings, talked with her, laughed with her, and 
listened to her whenever she could ; and Mrs. Jennings, on 
her side, treated them both with all possible kindness, was 
solicitous on every occasion for their ease and enjoyment, and 
only disturbed that she could not make them choose their own 
dinners at the inn, nor extort a confession of their preferring 
salmon to cod, or boiled fowls to veal cutlets. They reached 
town by three o'clock the third day, glad to be released, after 
such a journey, from the confinement of a carriage, and ready 
to enjoy all the luxury of a good fire. 

The house was handsome and handsomely fitted up ; and 



the young ladies were immediately put in possession of a very 
comfortable apartment. It had formerly been Charlotte's ; 
and over the mantelpiece still hung a landscape in coloured 
silks of her performance, in proof of her having spent seven 
years at a great school in town to some effect. 

As dinner was not to be ready in less than two hours from 
their arrival, Elinor determined to employ the interval in 
writing to her mother, and sat down for that purpose. In a 
few moments Marianne did the same. 1 1 am writing home, 
Marianne,' said Elinor ; ' had not you better defer your letter 
for a day or two ? ' 

i I am not going to write to my mother,' replied Marianne 
hastily, and as if wishing to avoid any further inquiry. Elinor 
said no more : it immediately struck her that she must then 
be writing to Willoughby ; and the conclusion which as instantly 
followed was, that, however mysteriously they might wish to 
conduct the affair, they must be engaged. This conviction, 
though not entirely satisfactory, gave her pleasure, and she 
continued her letter with greater alacrity. Marianne's was 
finished in a very few minutes ; in length it could be no more 
than a note ; it was then folded up, sealed, and directed with 
eager rapidity. Elinor thought she could distinguish a large 
W in the direction ; and no sooner was it complete than 
Marianne, ringing the bell, requested the footman who answered 
it to get that letter conveyed for her to the twopenny post. 
This decided the matter at once. 

Her spirits still continued very high ; but there was a flutter 
in them which prevented their giving much pleasure to her 
sister, and this agitation increased as the evening drew on. 
She could scarcely eat any dinner ; and when they afterwards 
returned to the drawing-room, seemed anxiously listening to 
the sound of every carriage. 

It was a great satisfaction to Elinor that Mrs. Jennings, by 
being much engaged in her own room, could see little of what 
was passing. The tea-things were brought in, and already 
had Marianne been disappointed more than once by a rap at 
a neighbouring door, when a loud one was suddenly heard 
which could not be mistaken for one at any other house. 
Elinor felt secure of its announcing Willoughby's approach, 
and Marianne, starting up, moved towards the door. Every- 
thing was silent : this could not be borne many seconds ; she 



opened the door, advanced a few steps towards the stairs ; 
and after listening half a minute, returned into the room in all 
the agitation which a conviction of having heard him would 
naturally produce : in the ecstasy of her feelings at that instant 
she could not help exclaiming, ' Oh, Elinor, it is Willoughby, 
indeed it is ! ' and seemed almost ready to throw herself into 
his arms, when Colonel Brandon appeared. 

It was too great a shock to be borne with calmness ; and 
she immediately left the room. Elinor was disappointed too ; 
but at the same time her regard for Colonel Brandon ensured 
his welcome with her ; and she felt particularly hurt that a 
man so partial to her sister should perceive that she experienced 
nothing but grief and disappointment in seeing him. She 
instantly saw that it was not unnoticed by him ; that he even 
observed Marianne, as she quitted the room, with such 
astonishment and concern as hardly left him the recollection 
of what civility demanded towards herself. 

1 Is your sister ill ? ' said he. 

Elinor answered in some distress that she was ; and then 
talked of headaches, low spirits, and over -fatigues ; and of 
everything to which she could decently attribute her sister's 

He heard her with the most earnest attention ; but seeming 
to recollect himself, said no more on the subject, and began 
directly to speak of his pleasure at seeing them in London, 
making the usual inquiries about their journey and the friends 
they had left behind. 

In this calm kind of way, with very little interest on either 
side, they continued to talk ; both of them out of spirits, and 
the thoughts of both engaged elsewhere. Elinor wished very 
much to ask whether Willoughby were then in town, but she 
was afraid of giving him pain by any inquiry after his rival ; 
and at length, by way of saying something, she asked if he 
had been in London ever since she had seen him last. 'Yes,' 
he replied, with some embarrassment, ' almost ever since ; I 
have been once or twice at Delaford for a few days, but it has 
never been in my power to return to Barton.' 

This, and the manner in which it was said, immediately 
brought back to her remembrance all the circumstances of his 
quitting that place, with the uneasiness and suspicions they 
had caused to Mrs. Jennings ; and she was fearful that her 



question had implied much more curiosity on the subject than 
she had ever felt. 

Mrs. Jennings soon came in. * Oh, Colonel,' said she, with 
her usual noisy cheerfulness, * I am monstrous glad to see you 
— sorry I could not come before — beg your pardon, — but I 
have been forced to look about me a little, and settle my 
matters ; for it is a long while since I have been at home, and 
you know one has always a world of little odd things to do 
after one has been away for any time ; and then I have had 
Cartwright to settle with. Lord, I have been as busy as a 
bee ever since dinner ! But pray, Colonel, how came you to 
conjure out that I should be in town to-day ? ' 

* I had the pleasure of hearing it at Mr. Palmer's, where I 
have been dining.' 

* Oh, you did ; well, and how do they all do at their house ? 
How does Charlotte do ? I warrant you she is a fine size by 
this time.' 

' Mrs. Palmer appeared quite well ; and I am commissioned 
to tell you that you will certainly see her to-morrow.' 

1 Ay, to be sure, I thought as much. Well, Colonel, I have 
brought two young ladies with me, you see, — that is, you see 
but one of them now, but there is another somewhere. Your 
friend Miss Marianne, too, which you will not be sorry to hear. 
I do not know what you and Mr. Willoughby will do between 
you about her. Ay, it is a fine thing to be young and hand- 
some. Well — I was young once, but I never was very hand- 
some — worse luck for me. However, I got a very good 
husband, and I don't know what the greatest beauty can do 
more. Ah, poor man ! he has been dead these eight years 
and better. But, Colonel, where have you been to since we 
parted ? And how does your business go on ? Come, come, 
let's have no secrets among friends.' 

He replied with his accustomary mildness to all her 
inquiries, but without satisfying her in any. Elinor now 
began to make the tea, and Marianne was obliged to appear 

After her entrance, Colonel Brandon became more thought- 
ful and silent than he had been before, and Mrs. Jennings 
could not prevail on him to stay long. No other visitor 
appeared that evening, and the ladies were unanimous in 
agreeing to go early to bed. 



Marianne rose the next morning with recovered spirits and 
happy looks. The disappointment of the evening before 
seemed forgotten in the expectation of what was to happen 
that day. They had not long finished their breakfast before 
Mrs. Palmer's barouche stopped at the door, and in a few 
minutes she came laughing into the room : so delighted to see 
them all that it was hard to say whether she received most 
pleasure from meeting her mother or the Miss Dashwoods 
again. So surprised at their coming to town, though it was 
what she had rather expected all along ; so angry at their 
accepting her mother's invitation after having declined her 
own, though at the same time she would never have forgiven 
them if they had not come ! 

' Mr. Palmer will be so happy to see you,' said she : — 
( what do you think he said when he heard of your coming 
with mamma ? I forget what it was now, but it was something 
so droll ! J 

After an hour or two spent in what her mother called com- 
fortable chat, or, in other words, in every variety of inquiry 
concerning all their acquaintance on Mrs. Jennings's side, and 
in laughter without cause on Mrs. Palmer's, it was proposed 
by the latter that they should all accompany her to some 
shops, where she had business that morning, to which Mrs. 
Jennings and Elinor readily consented, as having likewise 
some purchases to make themselves ; and Marianne, though 
declining it at first, was induced to go likewise. 

Wherever they went she was evidently always on the 
watch. In Bond Street especially, where much of their 
business lay, her eyes were in constant inquiry ; and in ' 
whatever shop the party were engaged her mind was equally 
abstracted from everything actually before them, from all that 
interested and occupied the others. Restless and dissatisfied 
everywhere, her sister could never obtain her opinion of any 
article of purchase, however it might equally concern them 
both : she received no pleasure from anything ; was only im- 
patient to be at home again, and could with difficulty govern 
her vexation at the tediousness of Mrs. Palmer, whose eye was 
caught by everything pretty, expensive, or new ; who was wild 
to buy all, could determine on none, and dawdled away her 
time in rapture and indecision. 

It was late in the morning before they returned home ; and 


no sooner had they entered the house than Marianne flew 
eagerly upstairs ; and when Elinor followed, she found her 
turning from the table with a sorrowful countenance which 
declared that no Willoughby had been there. 

' Has no letter been left here for me since we went out ? ' 
said she to the footman, who then entered with the parcels. 
She was answered in the negative. 'Are you quite sure of 
it ? ' she replied. * Are you certain that no servant, no porter, 
has left any letter or note ? ' 

The man replied that none had. 

* How very odd ! ' said she, in a low and disappointed voice, 
as she turned away to the window. 

* How odd, indeed I ' repeated Elinor within herself, regard- 
ing her sister with uneasiness. ' If she had not known him to 
be in town she would not have written to him as she did ; she 
would have written to Combe Magna ; and if he is in town, 
how odd that he should neither come nor write ! Oh, my 
dear mother, you must be wrong in permitting an engagement 
between a daughter so young, a man so little known, to be 
carried on in so doubtful, so mysterious a manner ! I long to 
inquire ; but how will my interference be borne ? ' 

She determined, after some consideration, that if appear- 
ances continued many days longer as unpleasant as they now 
were, she would represent in the strongest manner to her 
mother the necessity of some serious inquiry into the affair. 

Mrs. Palmer and two elderly ladies of Mrs. Jennings's in- 
timate acquaintance, whom she had met and invited in the 
morning, dined with them. The former left them soon after 
tea to fulfil her evening engagements ; and Elinor was obliged 
to assist in making a whist table for the others. Marianne 
was of no use on these occasions, as she would never learn 
the game ; but though her time was therefore at her own 
disposal, the evening was by no means more productive of 
pleasure to her than to Elinor, for it was spent in all the 
anxiety of expectation and the pain of disappointment. She 
sometimes endeavoured for a few minutes to read; but the 
book was soon thrown aside; and she returned to the more 
interesting employment of walking backwards and forwards 
across the room, pausing for a moment whenever she came to 
the window, in hopes of distinguishing the long-expected rap. 




* If this open weather holds much longer,' said Mrs. Jennings, 
when they met at breakfast the following morning, ' Sir John 
will not like leaving Barton next week ; 'tis a sad thing for 
sportsmen to lose a day's pleasure. Poor souls ! I always 
pity them when they do ; they seem to take it so much to 

'That is true,' cried Marianne, in a cheerful voice, and 
walking to the window as she spoke, to examine the day. { I 
had not thought of that This weather will keep many sports- 
men in the country.' 

It was a lucky recollection : all her good spirits were 
restored by it. f It is charming weather for them indeed,' she 
continued, as she sat down to the breakfast-table with a happy 
countenance. ' How much they must enjoy it ! But ' (with a 
little return of anxiety) 'it cannot be expected to last long. 
At this time of the year, and after such a series of rain, we 
shall certainly have very little more of it. Frosts will soon set 
in, and in all probability with severity. In another day or 
two perhaps ; this extreme mildness can hardly last longer — 
nay, perhaps it may freeze to-night ! ' 

'At any rate,' said Elinor, wishing to prevent Mrs. 
Jennings from seeing her sister's thoughts as clearly as she 
did, { I daresay we shall have Sir John and Lady Middleton 
in town by the end of next week.' 

' Ay, my dear, I'll warrant you we do. Mary always has 
her own way.' 

' And now,' silently conjectured Elinor, c she will write to 
Combe by this day's post.' 

But if she did, the letter was written and sent away with a 
privacy which eluded all her watchfulness to ascertain the fact. 
Whatever the truth of it might be, and far as Elinor was from 
feeling thorough contentment about it, yet while she saw 
Marianne in spirits, she could not be very uncomfortable 
herself. And Marianne was in spirits ; happy in the mildness 
of the weather, and still happier in her expectation of a frost. 

The morning was chiefly spent in leaving cards at the 


houses of Mrs. Jennings's acquaintance, to inform them of her 
being in town ; and Marianne was all the time busy in observ- 
ing the direction of the wind, watching the variations of the 
sky, and imagining an alteration in the air. 

£ Don't you find it colder than it was in the morning, 
Elinor? There seems to me a very decided difference. I 
can hardly keep my hands warm even in my muff. It was 
not so yesterday, I think. The clouds seem parting too ; the 
sun will be out in a moment, and we shall have a clear 

Elinor was alternately diverted and pained ; but Marianne 
persevered, and saw every night in the brightness of the fire, 
and every morning in the appearance of the atmosphere, the 
certain symptoms of approaching frost. 

The Miss Dashwoods had no greater reason to be dissatis- 
fied with Mrs. Jennings's style of living and set of acquaint- 
ance than with her behaviour to themselves, which was in- 
variably kind. Everything in her household arrangements 
was conducted on the most liberal plan, and excepting a few 
old city friends, whom, to Lady Middleton's regret, she had 
never dropped, she visited no one to whom an introduction 
could at all discompose the feelings of her young companions. 
Pleased to find herself more comfortably situated in that 
particular than she had expected, Elinor was very willing to 
compound for the want of much real enjoyment from any 
of their evening parties, which, whether at home or abroad, 
formed only for cards, could have little to amuse her. 

Colonel Brandon, who had a general invitation to the house, 
was with them almost every day : he came to look at Marianne, 
and talk to Elinor, who often derived more satisfaction from 
conversing with him than from any other daily occurrence, but 
who saw, at the same time, with much concern, his continued 
regard for her sister. She feared it was a strengthening 
regard. It grieved her to see the earnestness with which he 
often watched Marianne ; and his spirits were certainly worse 
than when at Barton. 

About a week after their arrival, it became certain that 
Willoughby was also arrived. His card was on the table 
when they came in from the morning's drive. 

* Good God ! ' cried Marianne, * he has been here while we 
were out. 5 Elinor, rejoiced to be assured of his being in 

L 145 


London, now ventured to say, ' Depend upon it, he will call 
again to-morrow.' But Marianne seemed hardly to hear her, 
and, on Mrs. Jennings's entrance, escaped with the precious 

This event, while it raised the spirits of Elinor, restored to 
those of her sister all, and more than all, their former agitation. 
From this moment her mind was never quiet ; the expectation 
of seeing him every hour of the day made her unfit for any- 
thing. She insisted on being left behind the next morning 
when the others went out. 

Elinor's thoughts were full of what might be passing in 
Berkeley Street during their absence ; but a moment's glance 
at her sister, when they returned, was enough to inform her 
that Willoughby had paid no second visit there. A note was 
just then brought in and laid on the table. 

* For me ! 3 cried Marianne, stepping hastily forward. 

'No, ma'am, for my mistress.* 

But Marianne, not convinced, took it instantly up. 

' It is, indeed, for Mrs. Jennings ; how provoking ! ' 

' You are expecting a letter, then ? ' said Elinor, unable to 
be longer silent. 

' Yes, a little — not much.' 

After a short pause, 'You have no confidence in me, 

' Nay, Elinor, this reproach from you — you who have con- 
fidence in no one ! ' 

1 Me 1 ' returned Elinor, in some confusion ; ' indeed, 
Marianne, I have nothing to tell.' 

'Nor I,' answered Marianne with energy ; our situations 
then are alike. We have neither of us anything to tell ; 
you, because you communicate, and I, because I conceal 

Elinor, distressed by this charge of reserve in herself, 
which she was not at liberty to do away, knew not how, 
under such circumstances, to press for greater openness in 

Mrs. Jennings soon appeared, and the note being given 
her, she read it aloud. It was from Lady Middleton, announc- 
ing their arrival in Conduit Street the night before, and 
requesting the company of her mother and cousins the 
following evening. Business on Sir John's part, and a violent 



cold on her own, prevented their calling in Berkeley Street. 
The invitation was accepted ; but when the hour of appoint- 
ment drew near, necessary as it was, in common civility to 
Mrs. Jennings, that they should both attend her on such a 
visit, Elinor had some difficulty in persuading her sister to go, 
for still she had seen nothing of Willoughby ; and therefore 
was not more indisposed for amusement abroad than unwilling 
to run the risk of his calling again in her absence. 

Elinor found, when the evening was over, that disposition 
is not materially altered by a change of abode ; for, although 
scarcely settled in town, Sir John had contrived to collect 
around him nearly twenty young people, and to amuse them 
with a ball. This was an affair, however, of which Lady 
Middleton did not approve. In the country, an unpremeditated 
dance was very allowable ; but in London, where the reputa- 
tion of elegance was more important, and less easily obtained, 
it was risking too much for the gratification of a few girls, to 
have it known that Lady Middleton had given a small dance, of 
eight or nine couple, with two violins, and a mere sideboard 

Mr. and Mrs. Palmer were of the party ; from the former, 
whom they had not seen before since their arrival in town, 
as he was careful to avoid the appearance of any attention to 
his mother-in-law, and therefore never came near her, they 
received no mark of recognition on their entrance. He looked 
at them slightly, without seeming to know who they were, and 
merely nodded to Mrs. Jennings from the other side of the 
room." Marianne gave one glance round the apartment as 
she entered ; it was enough, he was not there — and she sat 
down, equally ill disposed to receive or communicate pleasure. 
After they had been assembled about an hour, Mr. Palmer 
sauntered towards the Miss Dash woods to express his surprise 
on seeing them in town, though Colonel Brandon had been 
first informed of their arrival at his house, and he had himself 
said something very droll on hearing that they were to come. 

1 1 thought you were both in Devonshire/ said he. 

'Did you ?' replied Elinor. 

' When do you go back again ? ' 

' 1 do not know.' And thus ended their discourse. 

Never had Marianne been so unwilling to dance in her 
life as she was that evening, and never so much fatigued by 



the exercise. She complained of it as they returned to 
Berkeley Street. 

* Ay, ay,' said Mrs. Jennings, { we know the reason of all 
that very well : if a certain person, who shall be nameless, had 
been there, you would not have been a bit tired ; and, to say 
the truth, it was not very pretty of him not to give you the 
meeting when he was invited.' 

* Invited ! 3 cried Marianne. 

* So my daughter Middleton told me ; for it seems Sir John 
met him somewhere in the street this morning.' Marianne 
said no more, but looked exceedingly hurt. Impatient in this 
situation to be doing something that might lead to her sister's 
relief, Elinor resolved to write the next morning to her mother, 
and hoped, by awakening her fears for the health of Marianne, 
to procure those inquiries which had been so long delayed ; 
and she was still more eagerly bent on this measure by per- 
ceiving, after breakfast on the morrow, that Marianne was 
again writing to Willoughby, for she could not suppose it to be 
to any other person. 

About the middle of the day Mrs. Jennings went out by 
herself on business, and Elinor began her letter directly, 
while Marianne, too restless for employment, too anxious 
for conversation, walked from one window to the other, or 
sat down by the fire in melancholy meditation. Elinor was 
very earnest in her application to her mother, relating all 
that had passed, her suspicions of Willoughby's inconstancy, 
urging her, by every plea of duty and affection, to demand 
from Marianne an account of her real situation with respect 
to him. 

Her letter was scarcely finished, when a rap foretold a 
visitor, and Colonel Brandon was announced. Marianne, 
who had seen him from the window, and who hated company 
of any kind, left the room before he entered it. He looked 
more than usually grave ; and though expressing satisfaction 
at finding Miss Dashwood alone, as if he had somewhat in 
particular to tell her, sat for some time without saying a word. 
Elinor, persuaded that he had some communication to make in 
which her sister was concerned, impatiently expected its 
opening. It was not the first time of her feeling the same 
kind of conviction ; for more than once before, beginning with 
the observation of, 'Your sister looks unwell to-day, ' or, 'Your 



sister seems out of spirits/ he had appeared on the point, either 
of disclosing, or of inquiring, something particular about her. 
After a pause of several minutes their silence was broken by 
his asking her, in a voice of some agitation, when he was to 
congratulate her on the acquisition of a brother. Elinor 
was not prepared for such a question ; and having no answer 
ready, was obliged to adopt the simple and common expedient 
of asking what he meant ? He tried to smile, as he replied, 
'Your sister's engagement to Mr. Willoughby is very gener- 
ally known.' 

c It cannot be generally known,' returned Elinor, ' for her 
own family do not know it* 

He looked surprised, and said, c I beg your pardon, I am 
afraid my inquiry has been impertinent ; but I had not 
supposed any secrecy intended, as they openly correspond, and 
their marriage is universally talked of.' 

c How can that be ? By whom can you have heard it 
mentioned ? ' 

' By many — by some of whom you know nothing, by others 
with whom you are most intimate, Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Palmer, 
and the Middletons. But still I might not have believed it, 
for where the mind is, perhaps, rather unwilling to be convinced, 
it will always find something to support its doubts, if I had not, 
when the servant let me in to-day, accidentally seen a letter in 
his hand, directed to Mr. Willoughby, in your sister's writing. 
I came to inquire, but I was convinced before I could ask 
the question. Is everything finally settled ? Is it impossible 

to B u t i have no right, and I could have no chance of 

succeeding. Excuse me, Miss Dash wood. I believe I have 
been wrong in saying so much, but I hardly know what to 
do, and on your prudence I have the strongest dependence. 
Tell me that it is all absolutely resolved on, that any attempt, 
that in short concealment, if concealment be possible, is all 
that remains.' 

These words, which conveyed to Elinor a direct avowal of 
his love for her sister, affected her very much. She was not 
immediately able to say anything ; and even when her spirits 
were recovered, she debated for a short time on the answer 
it would be most proper to give. The real state of things 
between Willoughby and her sister was so little known to 
herself that, in endeavouring to explain it, she might be as 



liable to say too much as too little. Yet as she was convinced 
that Marianne's affection for Willoughby could leave no hope 
of Colonel Brandon's success, whatever the event of that 
affection might be, and at the same time wished to shield her 
conduct from censure, she thought it most prudent and kind, 
after some consideration, to say more than she really knew or 
believed. She acknowledged, therefore, that though she had 
never been informed by themselves of the terms on which 
they stood with each other, of their mutual affection she had 
no doubt, and of their correspondence she was not astonished 
to hear. 

He listened to her with silent attention ; and on her ceas- 
ing to speak, rose directly from his seat, and after saying in 
a voice of emotion, 'To your sister I wish all imaginable 
happiness ; to Willoughby that he may endeavour to deserve 
her,' — took leave, and went away. 

Elinor derived no comfortable feelings from this conver- 
sation to lessen the uneasiness of her mind on other points ; 
she was left, on the contrary, with a melancholy impression of 
Colonel Brandon's unhappiness, and was prevented even from 
wishing it removed, by her anxiety for the very event that 
must confirm it. 


Nothing occurred during the next three or four days to make 
Elinor regret what she had done in applying to her mother ; 
for Willoughby neither came nor wrote. They were engaged 
about the end of that time to attend Lady Middleton to a party, 
from which Mrs. Jennings was kept away by the indisposition 
of her youngest daughter ; and for this party Marianne, 
wholly dispirited, careless of her appearance, and seeming 
equally indifferent whether she went or stayed, prepared, 
without one look of hope or one expression of pleasure. She 
sat by the drawing-room fire after tea till the moment of Lady 
Middleton's arrival, without once stirring from her seat, or 
altering her attitude, lost in her own thoughts, and insensible 
of her sister's presence ; and when at last they were told that 



Lady Middleton waited for them at the door, she started as if 
she had forgotten that any one was expected. 

They arrived in due time at the place of destination ; 
and as soon as the string of carriages before them would 
allow, alighted, ascended the stairs, heard their names 
announced from one landing-place to another in an audible 
voice, and entered a room splendidly lit up, quite full of 
company, and insufferably hot. When they had paid their 
tribute of politeness by courtesying to the lady of the house, 
they were permitted to mingle in the crowd, and take their 
share of the heat and inconvenience to which their arrival 
must necessarily add. After some time spent in saying little 
and doing less, Lady Middleton sat down to Cassino ; and 
as Marianne was not in spirits for moving about, she and 
Elinor, luckily succeeding to chairs, placed themselves at no 
great distance from the table. 

They had not remained in this manner long before Elinor 
perceived Willoughby, standing within a few yards of them, in 
earnest conversation with a very fashionable -looking young 
woman. She soon caught his eye, and he immediately bowed, 
but without attempting to speak to her, or to approach 
Marianne, though he could not but see her; and then con- 
tinued his discourse with the same lady. Elinor turned 
involuntarily to Marianne, to see whether it could be unobserved 
by her. At that moment she first perceived him ; and her 
whole countenance glowing with sudden delight, she would 
have moved towards him instantly, had not her sister caught 
hold of her. 

' Good heavens ! ' she exclaimed, ' he is there — he is there ! 
— Oh, why does he not look at me ? Why cannot I speak to 

* Pray, pray be composed,' cried Elinor, ' and do not betray 
what you feel to everybody present. Perhaps he has not 
observed you yet. 3 

This, however, was more than she could believe herself; 
and to be composed at such a moment was not only beyond 
the reach of Marianne, it was beyond her wish. She sat in 
an agony of impatience which affected every feature. 

At last he turned round again and regarded them both ; 
she started up, and pronouncing his name in a tone of affection, 
held out her hand to him. He approached ; and addressing 


At that moment she first perceived him* 


himself rather to Elinor than Marianne, as if wishing to avoid 
her eye, and determined not to observe her attitude, inquired, 
in a hurried manner, after Mrs. Dashwood, and asked how 
long they had been in town. Elinor was robbed of all 
presence of mind by such an address, and was unable to 
say a word. But the feelings of her sister were instantly 
expressed. Her face was crimsoned over, and she exclaimed, 
in a voice of the greatest emotion, c Good God, Willoughby, 
what is the meaning of this ? Have you not received my 
letters ? Will you not shake hands with me ? ' 

He could not then avoid it ; but her touch seemed painful 
to him, and he held her hand only for a moment. During all 
this time he was evidently struggling for composure. Elinor 
watched his countenance, and saw its expression becoming 
more tranquil. After a moment's pause, he spoke with calm- 

1 1 did myself the honour of calling in Berkeley Street last 
Tuesday, and very much regretted that I was not fortunate 
enough to find yourselves and Mrs. Jennings at home. My 
card was not lost, I hope.' 

* But have you not received my notes ? ' cried Marianne in 
the wildest anxiety. c Here is some mistake, I am sure — some 
dreadful mistake. What can be the meaning of it ? Tell me, 
Willoughby ; for Heaven's sake tell me ; what is the matter ?' 

He made no reply : his complexion changed, and all his 
embarrassment returned ; but as if, on catching the eye of the 
young lady with whom he had been previously talking, he felt 
the necessity of instant exertion, he recovered himself again, 
and after saying, 'Yes, I had the pleasure of receiving the 
information of your arrival in town, which you were so good as 
to send me,' turned hastily away with a slight bow, and joined 
his friend. 

Marianne, now looking dreadfully white, and unable to 
stand, sank into her chair; and Elinor, expecting every 
moment to see her faint, tried to screen her from the observa- 
tion of others, while reviving her with lavender water. 

' Go to him, Elinor,' she cried, as soon as she could speak, 
'and force him to come to me. Tell him I must see him 
again — must speak to him instantly. I cannot rest — I shall 
not have a moment's peace till this is explained — some dread- 
ful misapprehension or other. Oh, go to him this moment.' 



' How can that be done ? No, my dearest Marianne, you 
must wait. This is not a place for explanations. Wait only 
till to-morrow.' 

With difficulty, however, could she prevent her from follow- 
ing him herself ; and to persuade her to check her agitation, 
to wait, at least, with the appearance of composure, till she 
might speak to him with more privacy and more effect, was 
impossible, for Marianne continued incessantly to give way in 
a low voice to the misery of her feelings, by exclamations of 
wretchedness. In a short time Elinor saw Willoughby quit 
the room by the door towards the staircase ; and telling 
Marianne that he was gone, urged the impossibility of speaking 
to him again that evening, as a fresh argument for her to be 
calm. She instantly begged her sister would entreat Lady 
Middleton to take them home, as she was too miserable to 
stay a minute longer. 

Lady Middleton, though in the middle of a rubber, on 
being informed that Marianne was unwell, was too polite to 
object for a moment to her wish of going away, and making 
over her cards to a friend, they departed as soon as the 
carriage could be found. Scarcely a word was spoken during 
their return to Berkeley Street. Marianne was in a silent 
agony, too much oppressed even for tears ; but as Mrs. 
Jennings was luckily not come home, they could go directly to 
their own room, where hartshorn restored her a little to her- 
self. She was soon undressed and in bed ; and as she seemed 
desirous of being alone, her sister then left her, and while she 
waited the return of Mrs. Jennings, had leisure enough for 
thinking over the past. 

That some kind of engagement had subsisted between 
Willoughby and Marianne she could not doubt, and that 
Willoughby was weary of it seemed equally clear ; for how- 
ever Marianne might still feed her own wishes, she could not 
attribute such behaviour to mistake or misapprehension of any 
kind. Nothing but a thorough change of sentiment could 
account for it. Her indignation would have been still stronger 
than it was, had she not witnessed that embarrassment which 
seemed to speak a consciousness of his own misconduct, and 
prevented her from believing him so unprincipled as to have 
been sporting with the affections of her sister from the first, 
without any design that would bear investigation. Absence 



might have weakened his regard, and convenience might have 
determined him to overcome it ; but that such a regard had 
formerly existed she could not bring herself to doubt. 

As for Marianne, on the pangs which so unhappy a meeting 
must already have given her, and on those still more severe 
which might await her in its probable consequence, she could 
not reflect without the deepest concern. Her own situation 
gained in the comparison ; for while she could esteem Edward 
as much as ever, however they might be divided in future, her 
mind might be always supported. But every circumstance 
that could embitter such an evil seemed uniting to heighten 
the misery of Marianne in a final separation from Willoughby 
— in an immediate and irreconcilable rupture with him. 


Before the housemaid had lit their fire the next day, or the 
sun gained any power over a cold, gloomy morning in January, 
Marianne, only half- dressed, was kneeling against one of the 
window-seats for the sake of all the little light she could 
command from it, and writing as fast as a continual flow of 
tears would permit her. In this situation, Elinor, roused from 
sleep by her agitation and sobs, first perceived her ; and after 
observing her for a few moments with silent anxiety, said, in a 
tone of the most considerate gentleness — 

c Marianne, may I ask ' 

c No, Elinor,' she replied, * ask nothing ; you will soon 
know all. 

The sort of desperate calmness with which this was said 
lasted no longer than while she spoke, and was immediately 
followed by a return of the same excessive affliction. It was 
some minutes before she could go on with her letter ; and the 
frequent bursts of grief which still obliged her at intervals to 
withhold her pen, were proofs enough of her feeling how more 
than probable it was that she was writing for the last time to 

Elinor paid her every quiet and unobtrusive attention in her 
power ; and she would have tried to soothe and tranquillise her 



still more, had not Marianne entreated her, with all the eager- 
ness of the most nervous irritability, not to speak to her for 
the world. In such circumstances it was better for both that 
they should not be long together; and the restless state of 
Marianne's mind not only prevented her from remaining in the 
room a moment after she was dressed, but requiring at once 
solitude and continual change of place, made her wander 
about the house till breakfast -time, avoiding the sight of 

At breakfast she neither ate nor attempted to eat anything ; 
and Elinor's attention was then all employed, not in urging 
her, not in pitying her, nor in appearing to regard her, but 
in endeavouring to engage Mrs. Jennings's notice entirely to 

As this was a favourite meal with Mrs. Jennings it lasted 
a considerable time ; and they were just setting themselves 
after it round the common working table, when a letter was 
delivered to Marianne, which she eagerly caught from the 
servant, and, turning of a death -like paleness, instantly ran 
out of the room. Elinor, who saw as plainly by this as if she 
had seen the direction that it must come from Willoughby, 
felt immediately such a sickness at heart as made her hardly 
able to hold up her head, and sat in such a general tremor 
as made her fear it impossible to escape Mrs. Jennings's 
notice. That good lady, however, saw only that Marianne 
had received a letter from Willoughby, which appeared to her 
a very good joke, and which she treated accordingly, by 
hoping, with a laugh, that she would find it to her liking. Of 
Elinor's distress she was too busily employed in measuring 
lengths of worsted for her rug to see anything at all ; and 
calmly continuing her talk as soon as Marianne disappeared, 
she said — 

( Upon my word, I never saw a young woman so desper- 
ately in love in my life ! My girls were nothing to her, and 
yet they used to be foolish enough ; but as for Miss Marianne, 
she is quite an altered creature. I hope, from the bottom of 
my heart, he won't keep her waiting much longer, for it is 
quite grievous to see her look so ill and forlorn. Pray, when 
are they to be married ? ' 

Elinor, though never less disposed to speak than at that 
moment, obliged herself to answer such an attack as this, 



and, therefore, trying to smile, replied, 'And have you really, 
ma'am, talked yourself into a persuasion of my sister's being 
engaged to Mr. Willoughby ? I thought it had been only a 
joke, but so serious a question seems to imply more ; and I 
must beg, therefore, that you will not deceive yourself any 
longer. I do assure you that nothing would surprise me more 
than to hear of their being going to be married.' 

« For shame, for shame, Miss Dashwood ! how can you 
talk so ? Don't we all know that it must be a match, — that 
they were over head and ears in love with each other from 
the first moment they met ? Did not I see them together in 
Devonshire every day, and all day long ; and did not I know 
that your sister came to town with me on purpose to buy 
wedding clothes ? Come, come, this won't do. Because you 
are so sly about it yourself, you think nobody else has any 
senses ; but it is no such thing, I can tell you, for it has been 
known all over town this ever so long. I tell everybody of it, 
and so does Charlotte.' 

' Indeed, ma'am,' said Elinor very seriously, ' you are mis- 
taken. Indeed, you are doing a very unkind thing in spread- 
ing the report ; and you will find that you have, though you 
will not believe me now.' 

Mrs. Jennings laughed again, but Elinor had not spirits to 
say more ; and eager, at all events, to know what Willoughby 
had written, hurried away to their room, where, on opening 
the door, she saw Marianne stretched on the bed, almost 
choked by grief, one letter in her hand, and two or three 
others lying by her. Elinor drew near, but without saying a 
word ; and seating herself on the bed, took her hand, kissed 
her affectionately several times, and then gave way to a burst 
of tears, which at first was scarcely less violent than Mari- 
anne's. The latter, though unable to speak, seemed to feel 
all the tenderness of this behaviour ; and after some time thus 
spent in joint affliction, she put all the letters into Elinor's 
hands, and then, covering her face with her handkerchief, 
almost screamed with agony. Elinor, who knew that such 
grief, shocking as it was to witness it, must have its course, 
watched by her till this excess of suffering had somewhat 
spent itself, and then turning eagerly to Willoughby's letter, 
read as follows : — 



* Bond Street, January. 
1 My dear Madam, — I have just had the honour of receiving 
your letter, for which I beg to return my sincere acknowledg- 
ments. I am much concerned to find there was anything in 
my behaviour last night that did not meet your approbation ; 
and though I am quite at a loss to discover in what point I 
could be so unfortunate as to offend you, I entreat your for- 
giveness of what I can assure you to have been perfectly 
unintentional. I shall never reflect on my former acquaintance 
with your family in Devonshire without the most grateful 
pleasure, and flatter myself it will not be broken by any mis- 
take or misapprehension of my actions. My esteem for your 
whole family is very sincere ; but if I have been so unfortunate 
as to give rise to a belief of more than I felt, or meant to 
express, I shall reproach myself for not having been more 
guarded in my professions of that esteem. That I should 
ever have meant more, you will allow to be impossible, when 
you understand that my affections have been long engaged 
elsewhere, and it will not be many weeks, I believe, before 
this engagement is fulfilled. It is with great regret that I 
obey your commands of returning the letters with which I 
have been honoured from you, and the lock of hair which 
you so obligingly bestowed on me. I am, dear Madam, 
your most obedient humble servant, 

' John Willoughby.' 

With what indignation such a letter as this must be read 
by Miss Dashwood may be imagined. Though aware, before 
she began it, that it must bring a confession of his inconstancy, 
and confirm their separation for ever, she was not aware that 
such language could be suffered to announce it ; nor could she 
have supposed Willoughby capable of departing so far from 
the appearance of every honourable and delicate feeling — so 
far from the common decorum of a gentleman — as to send a 
letter so impudently cruel : a letter which, instead of bringing 
with his desire of a release any professions of regret, acknow- 
ledged no breach of faith, denied all peculiar affection what- 
ever ; — a letter of which every line was an insult, and which 
proclaimed its writer to be deep in hardened villainy. 

She paused over it for some time with indignant astonish- 
ment ; then read it again and again ; but every perusal only 



served to increase her abhorrence of the man ; and so bitter 
were her feelings against him, that she dared not trust herself 
to speak, lest she might wound Marianne still deeper, by 
treating their disengagement, not as a loss to her of any 
possible good, but as an escape from the worst and most 
irremediable of all evils, — a connection for life with an un- 
principled man, as a deliverance the most real, a blessing the 
most important. 

In her earnest meditations on the contents of a letter, on 
the depravity of that mind which could dictate it, and, prob- 
ably, on the very different mind of a very different person 
who had no other connection whatever with the affair than 
what her heart gave him with everything that passed, Elinor 
forgot the immediate distress of her sister, forgot that she had 
three letters on her lap yet unread, and so entirely forgot 
how long she had been in the room, that when, on hearing a 
carriage drive up to the door, she went to the window to see 
who could be coming so unreasonably early, she was all 
astonishment to perceive Mrs. Jennings's chariot, which she 
knew had not been ordered till one. Determined not to quit 
Marianne, though hopeless of contributing, at present, to her 
ease, she hurried away to excuse herself from attending Mrs. 
Jennings, on account of her sister being indisposed. Mrs. 
Jennings, with a thoroughly good-humoured concern for its 
cause, admitted the excuse most readily ; and Elinor, after 
seeing her safe off, returned to Marianne, whom she found 
attempting to rise from the bed, and whom she reached just 
in time to prevent her from falling on the floor, faint and giddy 
from a long want of proper rest and food ; for it was many 
days since she had any appetite, and many nights since she 
had really slept ; and now, when her mind was no longer 
supported by the fever of suspense, the consequence of all 
this was felt in an aching head, a weakened stomach, and a 
general nervous faintness. A glass of wine, which Elinor 
procured for her directly, made her more comfortable, and 
she was at last able to express some sense of her kindness by 
saying, * Poor Elinor ! how unhappy I make you ! ' 

* I only wish,' replied her sister, ' there were anything I 
could do which might be of comfort to you.' 

This, as everything else would have been, was too much 
for Marianne, who could only exclaim, in the anguish of her 



heart, ' Oh, Elinor, I am miserable indeed,' before her voice 
was entirely lost in sobs. 

Elinor could no longer witness this torrent of unresisted 
grief in silence. 

'Exert yourself, dear Marianne/ she cried, 'if you would 
not kill yourself and all who love you. Think of your mother ; 
think of her misery while you suffer ; for her sake you must 
exert yourself 

' I cannot, I cannot,' cried Marianne ; ' leave me, leave me, 
if I distress you ; leave me, hate me, forget me 1 but do not 
torture me so. Oh, how easy for those who have no sorrow 
of their own to talk of exertion ! Happy, happy Elinor, you 
cannot have an idea of what I suffer.' 

' Do you call me happy, Marianne ? Ah, if you knew ! 
And can you believe me to be so, while I see you so 
wretched ? ' 

'Forgive me, forgive me,' throwing her arms round her 
sister's neck ; ' I know you feel for me ; I know what a heart 
you have ; but yet you are — you must be happy ; Edward 
loves you — what, oh what, can do away such happiness as 

' Many, many circumstances,' said Elinor solemnly. 

' No, no, no,' cried Marianne wildly : ' he loves you, and 
only you. You can have no grief.' 

' I can have no pleasure while I see you in this state.' 

' And you will never see me otherwise. Mine is a misery 
which nothing can do away.' 

' You must not talk so, Marianne. Have you no comforts ? 
no friends ? Is your loss such as leaves no opening for 
consolation ? Much as you suffer now, think of what you 
would have suffered if the discovery of his character had been 
delayed to a later period ; — if your engagement had been 
carried on for months and months, as it might have been, 
before he chose to put an end to it. Every additional day of 
unhappy confidence, on your side, would have made the blow 
more dreadful.' 

' Engagement ! ' cried Marianne, ' there has been no en- 

' No engagement ! ' 

' No, he is not so unworthy as you believe him. He has 
broken no faith with me.' 



' But he told you that he loved you.' 

'Yes — no— never absolutely. It was every day implied 
but never professedly declared. Sometimes I thought it had 
been, but it never was.' 

' Yet you wrote to him ? ' 

1 Yes : could that be wrong, after all that had passed ? But 
I cannot talk.' 

Elinor said no more, and turning again to the three letters, 
which now raised a much stronger curiosity than before, 
directly ran over the contents of all The first, which was 
what her sister had sent him on their arrival in town, was to 
this effect : — 

' Berkeley Street, January. 

* How surprised you will be, Willoughby, on receiving this ; 
and I think you will feel something more than surprise when 
you know that I am in town. An opportunity of coming 
hither, though with Mrs. Jennings, was a temptation we could 
not resist. I wish you may receive this in time to come here 
to-night, but I will not depend on it. At any rate I shall ex- 
pect you to-morrow. For the present, adieu. M. D.' 

Her second note, which had been written on the morning 
after the dance at the Middletons', was in these words : — 

' 1 cannot express my disappointment in having missed you 
the day before yesterday, nor my astonishment at not having 
received any answer to a note which I sent you above a week 
ago. I have been expecting to hear from you, and still more 
to see you, every hour of the day. Pray call again as soon as 
possible, and explain the reason of my having expected this in 
vain. You had better come earlier another time, because we 
are generally out by one. We were last night at Lady 
Middleton's, where there was a dance. I have been told that 
you were asked to be of the party. But could it be so ? 
You must be very much altered, indeed, since we parted, if 
that could be the case, and you not there. But I will not 
suppose this possible, and I hope very soon to receive your 
personal assurance of its being otherwise. M. D.' 

The contents of her last note to him were these : — 
M 161 


'What am I to imagine, Willoughby, by your behaviour 
last night? Again I demand an explanation of it. I was 
prepared to meet you with the pleasure which our separation 
naturally produced, — with the familiarity which our intimacy 
at Barton appeared to me to justify. I was repulsed indeed ! 
I have passed a wretched night in endeavouring to excuse a 
conduct which can scarcely be called less than insulting ; but 
though I have not yet been able to form any reasonable 
apology for your behaviour, I am perfectly ready to hear your 
justification of it. You have perhaps been misinformed, or 
purposely deceived, in something concerning me, which may 
have lowered me in your opinion. Tell me what it is ; explain 
the grounds on which you acted, and I shall be satisfied, in 
being able to satisfy you. It would grieve me, indeed, to be 
obliged to think ill of you ; but if I am to do it, if I am to 
learn that you are not what we have hitherto believed you, 
that your regard for us all was insincere, that your behaviour 
to me was intended only to deceive, let it be told as soon as 
possible. My feelings are at present in a state of dreadful 
indecision ; I wish to acquit you, but certainty on either side 
will be ease to what I now suffer. If your sentiments are no 
longer what they were, you will return my notes, and the lock 
of my hair which is in your possession. M. D.' 

That such letters, so full of affection and confidence, could 
have been so answered, Elinor, for Willoughby's sake, would 
have been unwilling to believe. But her condemnation of him 
did not blind her to the impropriety of their having been 
written at all ; and she was silently grieving over the im- 
prudence which had hazarded such unsolicited proofs of 
tenderness, not warranted by anything preceding, and most 
severely condemned by the event, when Marianne, perceiving 
that she had finished the letters, observed to her that they 
contained nothing but what any one would have written in the 
same situation. 

' I felt myself, 1 she added, ' to be as solemnly engaged to 
him as if the strictest legal covenant had bound us to each 
other. 1 

1 1 can believe it,' said Elinor ; ' but unfortunately he did 
not feel the same.' 

1 He did feel the same, Elinor — for weeks and weeks he 


felt it. I know he did. Whatever may have changed him 
now (and nothing but the blackest art employed against me 
can have done it), I was once as dear to him as my own soul 
could wish. This lock of hair, which now he can so readily 
give up, was begged of me with the most earnest supplication. 
Had you seen his look, his manner, had you heard his voice 
at that moment ! Have you forgot the last evening of our 
being together at Barton ? The morning that we parted too ! 
When he told me that it might be many weeks before we met 
again — his distress — can I ever forget his distress ? ' 

For a moment or two she could say no more ; but when this 
emotion had passed away, she added, in a firmer tone — 

' Elinor, I have been cruelly used ; but not by Willoughby.' 

' Dearest Marianne, who but himself ? By whom can he 
have been instigated ? ' 

* By all the world, rather than by his own heart. I could 
rather believe every creature of my acquaintance leagued 
together to ruin me in his opinion than believe his nature 
capable of such cruelty. This woman of whom he writes — 
whoever she be — or any one, in short, but your own dear self, 
mamma, and Edward, may have been so barbarous as to belie 
me. Beyond you three, is there a creature in the world whom 
I would not rather suspect of evil than Willoughby, whose heart 
I know so well ? ' 

Elinor would not contend, and only replied, i Whoever may 
have been so detestably your enemy, let them be cheated of 
their malignant triumph, my dear sister, by seeing how nobly 
the consciousness of your own innocence and good intentions 
supports your spirits. It is a reasonable and laudable pride 
which resists such malevolence. ' 

'No, no,' cried Marianne, 'misery such as mine has no 
pride. I care not who knows that I am wretched. The triumph 
of seeing me so may be open to all the world. Elinor, Elinor, 
they who suffer little may be proud and independent as they 
like — may resist insult, or return mortification — but I cannot. 
I must feel — I must be wretched — and they are welcome to 
enjoy the consciousness of it that can.' 

' But for my mother's sake and mine ' 

' I would do more than for my own. But to appear happy 
when I am so miserable — oh, who can require it ? ' 

Again they were both silent. Elinor was employed in 


walking thoughtfully from the fire to the window, from the 
window to the fire, without knowing that she received warmth 
from one, or discerning objects through the other; and 
Marianne, seated at the foot of the bed, with her head leaning 
against one of its posts, again took up Willoughby's letter, 
and, after shuddering over every sentence, exclaimed — 

4 It is too much ! Oh, Willoughby, Willoughby, could this 
be yours ? Cruel, cruel — nothing can acquit you. Elinor, 
nothing can. Whatever he might have heard against me, 
ought he not to have suspended his belief? ought he not to 
have told me of it, to have given me the power of clearing 
myself? " The lock of hair (repeating it from the letter) which 
you so obligingly bestowed on me" — that is unpardonable. 
Willoughby, where was your heart when you wrote those words ? 
Oh, barbarously insolent ! — Elinor, can he be justified ? ' 

* No, Marianne, in no possible way.' 

1 And yet this woman — who knows what her art may have 
been ? — how long it may have been premeditated, and how 
deeply contrived by her ! — Who is she ? — Who can she be ? — 
Whom did I ever hear him talk of as young and attractive 
among his female acquaintance ? — Oh, no one, no one : — he 
talked to me only of myself.' 

Another pause ensued ; Marianne was greatly agitated, and 
it ended thus : — 

1 Elinor, I must go home. I must go and comfort mamma. 
Cannot we be gone to-morrow ? ' 

4 To-morrow, Marianne ! ' 

* Yes ; why should I stay here ? I came only for Wil- 
loughby's sake — and now who cares for me ? Who regards 

* It would be impossible to go to-morrow. We owe Mrs. 
Jennings much more than civility ; and civility of the commonest 
kind must prevent such a hasty removal as that.' 

* Well, then, another day or two, perhaps ; but I cannot 
stay here long ; I cannot stay to endure the questions and 
remarks of all these people. The Middletons and Palmers — 
how am I to bear their pity ? The pity of such a woman as 
Lady Middleton ! Oh, what would he say to that ? i 

Elinor advised her to lie down again, and for a moment 
she did so ; but no attitude could give her ease ; and in 
restless pain of mind and body she moved from one posture 



to another, till, growing more and more hysterical, her sister 
could with difficulty keep her on the bed at all, and for some 
time was fearful of being constrained to call for assistance. 
Some lavender drops, however, which she was at length 
persuaded to take, were of use ; and from that time till 
Mrs. Jennings returned she continued on the bed quiet and 


Mrs. Jennings came immediately to their room on her return, 
and without waiting to have her request of admittance answered, 
opened the door and walked in with a look of real concern. 

i How do you do, my dear ? ' said she in a voice of great 
compassion to Marianne, who turned away her face without 
attempting to answer. 

* How is she, Miss Dashwood ? Poor thing ! she looks 
very bad. No wonder. Ay, it is but too true. He is to be 
married very soon — a good-for-nothing fellow ! I have no 
patience with him. Mrs. Taylor told me of it half an hour 
ago, and she was told it by a particular friend of Miss Grey 
herself, else I am sure I should not have believed it ; and I 
was almost ready to sink as it was. Well, said .1, all I can 
say is, that if it is true, he has used a young lady of my 
acquaintance abominably ill, and I wish with all my soul his 
wife may plague his heart out. And so I shall always say, 
my dear, you may depend on it. I have no notion of men's 
going on in this way ; and if ever I meet him again, I will 
give him such a dressing as he has not had this many a day. 
But there is one comfort, my dear Miss Marianne — he is not 
the only young man in the world worth having ; and with your 
pretty face you will never want admirers. Well, poor thing ! 
I won't disturb her any longer, ,for she had better have her cry 
out at once and have done with it. The Parrys and Sandersons 
luckily are coming to-night, you know, and that will amuse 

She then went away, walking on tiptoe out of the room, 
as if she supposed her young friend's affliction could be in- 
creased by noise. 



Marianne, to the surprise of her sister, determined on 
dining with them. Elinor even advised her against it. But 
* no, she would go down ; she could bear it very well, and the 
bustle about her would be less.' Elinor, pleased to have her 
governed for a moment by such a motive, though believing it 
hardly possible that she could sit out the dinner, said no more ; 
and adjusting her dress for her as well as she could, while 
Marianne still remained on the bed, was ready to assist her 
into the dining-room as soon as they were summoned to it. 

When there, though looking most wretchedly, she ate more 
and was calmer than her sister had expected. Had she tried 
to speak, or had she been conscious of half Mrs. Jennings's 
well-meant but ill-judged attentions to her, this calmness could 
not have been maintained ; but not a syllable escaped her lips ; 
and the abstraction of her thoughts preserved her in ignorance 
of everything that was passing before her. 

Elinor, who did justice to Mrs. Jennings's kindness, though 
its effusions were often distressing, and sometimes almost 
ridiculous, made her those acknowledgments, and returned her 
those civilities, which her sister could not make or return for 
herself. Their good friend saw that Marianne was unhappy, 
and felt that everything was due to her which might make her 
at all less so. She treated her, therefore, with all the indulgent 
fondness of a parent towards a favourite child on the last day 
of its holidays. Marianne was to have the best place by the 
fire, was to be tempted to eat by every delicacy in the house, 
and to be amused by the relation of all the news of the day. 
Had not Elinor, in the sad countenance of her sister, seen a 
check to all mirth, she could have been entertained by Mrs. 
Jennings's endeavours to cure a disappointment in love by a 
variety of sweetmeats and olives and a good fire. As soon, 
however, as the consciousness of all this was forced by con- 
tinual repetition on Marianne, she could stay no longer. With 
a hasty exclamation of misery, and a sign to her sister not to 
follow her, she directly got up and hurried out of the room. 

i Poor soul ! ' cried Mrs. Jennings, as soon as she was gone, 
( how it grieves me to see her ! And I declare if she is not 
gone away without finishing her wine ! And the dried cherries 
too 1 Lord 1 nothing seems to do her any good. I am sure if 
I knew of anything she would like, I would send all over the 
town for it. Well, it is the oddest thing to me that a man 



should use such a pretty girl so ill ! But when there is plenty 
of money on one side, and next to none on the other, Lord 
bless you ! they care no more about such things ! ' 

' The lady, then, — Miss Grey, I think you called her, — is 
very rich ? ' 

< Fifty thousand pounds, my dear. Did you ever see her ? 
a smart, stylish girl, they say, but not handsome. I remember 
her aunt very well, Biddy Henshawe ; she married a very 
wealthy man. But the family are all rich together. Fifty 
thousand pounds ! and by all accounts it won't come before it's 
wanted ; for they say he is all to pieces. No wonder ! dashing 
about with his curricle and hunters ! Well, it don't signify 
talking • but when a young man, be he who he will, comes and 
makes love to a pretty girl, and promises marriage, he has no 
business to fly off from his word, only because he grows poor, 
and a richer girl is ready to have him. Why don't he, in such 
a case, sell his horses, let his house, turn off his servants, 
and make a thorough reform at once ? I warrant you, Miss 
Marianne would have been ready to wait till matters came 
round. But that won't do nowadays ; nothing in the way of 
pleasure can ever be given up by the young men of this age.' 

' Do you know what kind of a girl Miss Grey is ? Is she 
said to be amiable ? ' 

' I never heard any harm of her ; indeed, I hardly ever 
heard her mentioned ; except that Mrs. Taylor did say this 
morning, that one day Miss Walker hinted to her that she 
believed Mr. and Mrs. Ellison would not be sorry to have 
Miss Grey married, for she and Mrs. Ellison could never 

* And who are the Ellisons ? ' 

' Her guardians, my dear. But now she is of age, and 
may choose for herself ; and a pretty choice she has made ! 
— What now,' after pausing a moment, 'your poor sister is 
gone to her own room, I suppose, to moan by herself. Is 
there nothing one can get to comfort her? Poor dear, it 
seems quite cruel to let her be alone. Well, by and by we 
shall have a few friends, and that will amuse her a little. 
What shall we play at ? She hates whist, I know ; but is 
there no round game she cares for ? ' 

1 Dear ma'am, this kindness is quite unnecessary. Marianne, 
I daresay, will not leave her room again this evening. I 



shall persuade her, if I can, to go early to bed, for I am sure 
she wants rest. 5 

' Ay, I believe that will be best for her. Let her name her 
own supper, and go to bed. Lord ! no wonder she has been 
looking so bad and so cast down this last week or two, for 
this matter, I suppose, has been hanging over her head as long 
as that. And so the letter that came to-day finished it ! Poor 
soul ! I am sure if I had had a notion of it, I would not have 
joked her about it for all my money. But then, you know, 
how should I guess such a thing ? I made sure of its being 
nothing but a common love letter, and you know young people 
like to be laughed at about them. Lord ! how concerned Sir 
John and my daughters will be when they hear it ! If I had 
had my senses about me I might have called in Conduit Street 
in my way home, and told them of it. But I shall see them 
to-morrow. ' 

* It would be unnecessary, I am sure, for you to caution 
Mrs. Palmer and Sir John against ever naming Mr. Willoughby, 
or making the slightest allusion to what has passed, before my 
sister. Their own good-nature must point out to them the 
real cruelty of appearing to know anything about it when she 
is present ; and the less that may ever be said to myself on the 
subject, the more my feelings will be spared, as you, my dear 
madam, will easily believe. 3 

1 Oh, Lord ! yes, that I do indeed. It must be terrible for 
you to hear it talked of; and as for your sister, I am sure I 
would not mention a word about it to her for the world. You 
saw I did not all dinner-time. No more would Sir John nor 
my daughters, for they are all very thoughtful and considerate ; 
especially if I give them a hint, as I certainly will. For my 
part, I think the less that is said about such things the better, 
the sooner 'tis blown over and forgot. And what good does 
talking ever do, you know ? ' 

i In this affair it can only do harm ; more so, perhaps, than 
in many cases of a similar kind : for it has been attended by 
circumstances which, for the sake of every one concerned in 
it, make it unfit to become the public conversation. I must 
do this justice to Mr. Willoughby — he has broken no positive 
engagement with my sister.' 

4 Law, my dear ! Don't pretend to defend him. No posi- 
tive engagement indeed ! after taking her all over Allenham 



House, and fixing on the very rooms they were to live in 
hereafter ! ' 

Elinor, for her sister's sake, could not press the subject 
further, and she hoped it was not required of her for 
Willoughby's ; since, though Marianne might lose much, he 
could gain very little by the enforcement of the real truth. 
After a short silence on both sides, Mrs. Jennings, with all her 
natural hilarity, burst forth again. 

* Well, my dear, 'tis a true saying about an ill wind, for it 
will be all the better for Colonel Brandon. He will have her 
at last ; ay, that he will. Mind me, now, if they an't married 
by Midsummer. Lord ! how he'll chuckle over this news ! 
I hope he will come to-night. It will be all to one a better 
match for your sister. Two thousand a year without debt or 
drawback — except the little love-child, indeed, ay, I had forgot 
her ; but she may be prenticed out at small cost, and then 
what does it signify ? Delaford is a nice place, I can tell you ; 
exactly what I call a nice old-fashioned place, full of comforts 
and conveniences ; quite shut in with great garden walls that 
are covered with the best fruit-trees in the country ; and such 
a mulberry tree in one corner ! Lord ! how Charlotte and I 
did stuff the only time we were there ! Then, there is a 
dovecote, some delightful stewponds, and a very pretty canal ; 
and everything, in short, that one could wish for : and, 
moreover, it is close to the church, and only a quarter of a 
mile from the turnpike-road, so 'tis never dull, for if you only 
go and sit up in an old yew arbour behind the house, you may 
see all the carriages that pass along. Oh, 'tis a nice place ! 
A butcher hard by in the village, and the parsonage -house 
within a stone's throw. To my fancy, a thousand times 
prettier than Barton Park, where they are forced to send three 
miles for their meat, and have not a neighbour nearer than 
your mother. Well, I shall spirit up the Colonel as soon as I 
can. One shoulder of mutton, you know, drives another down. 
If we can but put Willoughby out of her head ! ' 

* Ay, if we can but do that, ma'am,' said Elinor, ' we shall 
do very well with or without Colonel Brandon.' And then 
rising, she went away to join Marianne, whom she found, as 
she expected, in her own room, leaning, in silent misery, over 
the small remains of a fire, which, till Elinor's entrance, had 
been her only light. 



'You had better leave me,' was all the notice that her 
sister received from her. 

'I will leave you,' said Elinor, 'if you will go to bed.' 
But this, from the momentary perverseness of impatient 
suffering, she at first refused to do. Her sister's earnest, 
though gentle persuasion, however, soon softened her to 
compliance ; and Elinor saw her lay her aching head on the 
pillow, and saw her, as she hoped, in a way to get some quiet 
rest before she left her. 

In the drawing-room, whither she then repaired, she was 
soon joined by Mrs. Jennings, with a wine-glass full of 
something in her hand. 

' My dear/ said she, entering, ' I have just recollected that 
I have some of the finest old Constantia wine in the house 
that ever was tasted, so I have brought a glass of it for your 
sister. My poor husband ! how fond he was of it ! When- 
ever he had a touch of his old colicky gout, he said it did him 
more good than anything else in the world. Do take it to 
your sister.' 

'Dear ma'am,' replied Elinor, smiling at the difference of 
the complaints for which it was recommended, 'how good 
you are ! But I have just left Marianne in bed, and, I hope, 
almost asleep ; and as I think nothing will be of so much 
service to her as rest, if you will give me leave, I will drink 
the wine myself.' 

Mrs. Jennings, though regretting that she had not been 
five minutes earlier, was satisfied with the compromise, and 
Elinor, as she swallowed the chief of it, reflected, that though 
its good effects on a colicky gout were, at present, of little 
importance to her, its healing powers on a disappointed heart 
might be as reasonably tried on herself as on her sister. 

Colonel Brandon came in while the party were at tea ; and 
by his manner of looking round the room for Marianne, Elinor 
immediately fancied that he neither expected nor wished to 
see her there, and, in short, that he was already aware of what 
occasioned her absence. Mrs. Jennings was not struck by the 
same thought ; for soon after his entrance, she walked across 
the room to the tea-table where Elinor presided, and whispered, 
' The Colonel looks as grave as ever, you see : he knows 
nothing of it ; do tell him, my dear.' 

He shortly afterwards drew a chair close to hers, and with 

* How fond he was of it ! ' 


a look which perfectly assured her of his good information, 
inquired after her sister. 

'Marianne is not well,' said she. 'She has been indis- 
posed all day, and we have persuaded her to go to bed.' 

* Perhaps, then,' he hesitatingly replied, * what I heard this 
morning may be — there may be more truth in it than I could 
believe possible at first.' 

' What did you hear ? ' 

' That a gentleman, whom I had reason to think — in short, 
that a man, whom I knew to be engaged — but how shall I 
tell you ? If you know it already, as surely you must, I may 
be spared.' 

'You mean,' answered Elinor, with forced calmness, 'Mr. 
Willoughby's marriage with Miss Grey. Yes, we do know it 
all. This seems to have been a day of general elucidation, 
for this very morning first unfolded it to us. Mr. Willoughby 
is unfathomable ! Where did you hear it ? ' 

' In a stationer's shop in Pall Mall, where I had business. 
Two ladies were waiting for their carriage, and one of them 
was giving the other an account of the intended match, in a 
voice so little attempting concealment that it was impossible 
for me not to hear all. The name of Willoughby, John 
Willoughby, frequently repeated, first caught my attention ; 
and what followed was a positive assertion that everything was 
now finally settled respecting his marriage with Miss Grey — it 
was no longer to be a secret — it would take place even within 
a few weeks, with many particulars of preparations and other 
matters. One thing, especially, I remember, because it served 
to identify the man still more : — as soon as the ceremony was 
over, they were to go to Combe Magna, his seat in Somerset- 
shire. My astonishment ! — but it would be impossible to 
describe what I felt. The communicative lady I learnt, on 
inquiry, — for I stayed in the shop till they were gone, — was a 
Mrs. Ellison, and that, as I have been since informed, is the 
name of Miss Grey's guardian.' 

1 It is. But have you likewise heard that Miss Grey has 
fifty thousand pounds ? In that, if in anything, we may find 
an explanation.' 

' It may be so. But Willoughby is capable — at least I 

think ' He stopped a moment, then added, in a voice which 

seemed to distrust itself, ' And your sister, — how did she ' 



* Her sufferings have been very severe. I have only to 
hope that they may be proportionably short. It has been, it 
is, a most cruel affliction. Till yesterday, I believe, she never 
doubted his regard ; and even now, perhaps — but / am almost 
convinced that he never was really attached to her. He has 
been very deceitful ! and, in some points, there seems a hard- 
ness of heart about him.' 

< Ah ! ' said Colonel Brandon, * there is, indeed ! But your 
sister does not — I think you said so — she does not consider it 
quite as you do ? ' 

* You know her disposition, and may believe how eagerly 
she would still justify him if she could.' 

He made no answer ; and soon afterwards, by the removal 
of the tea-things, and the arrangement of the card parties, the 
subject was necessarily dropped. Mrs. Jennings, who had 
watched them with pleasure while they were talking, and who 
expected to see the effect of Miss Dashwood's communication 
in such an instantaneous gaiety on Colonel Brandon's side as 
might have become a man in the bloom of youth, of hope, and 
happiness, saw him, with amazement, remain the whole even- 
ing more serious and thoughtful than usual. 


From a night of more sleep than she had expected, Marianne 
awoke the next morning to the same consciousness of misery 
in which she had closed her eyes. 

Elinor encouraged her as much as possible to talk of what 
she felt ; and before breakfast was ready they had gone 
through the subject again and again ; with the same steady 
conviction and affectionate counsel on Elinor's side, the same 
impetuous feelings and varying opinions on Marianne's, as 
before. Sometimes she could believe Willoughby to be as 
unfortunate and as innocent as herself, and at others lost every 
consolation in the impossibility of acquitting him. At one 
moment she was absolutely indifferent to the observation of all 
the world ; at another, she would seclude herself from it for 
ever, and at a third, could resist it with energy. In one thing, 



however, she was uniform, when it came to the point, in avoid- 
ing, where it was possible, the presence of Mrs. Jennings, 
and in a determined silence when obliged to endure it. Her 
heart was hardened against the belief of Mrs. Jennings's 
entering into her sorrows with any compassion. 

* No, no, no, it cannot be,' she cried ; i she cannot feel. 
Her kindness is not sympathy ; her good-nature is not tender- 
ness. All that she wants is gossip; and she only likes me 
now because I supply it.' 

Elinor had not needed this to be assured of the injustice 
to which her sister was often led in her opinion of others, by 
the irritable refinement of her own mind, and the too great 
importance placed by her on the delicacies of a strong sensi- 
bility and the graces of a polished manner. Like half the 
rest of the world, if more than half there be that are clever 
and good, Marianne, with excellent abilities and an excellent 
disposition, was neither reasonable nor candid. She expected 
from other people the same opinions and feelings as her own, 
and she judged of their motives by the immediate effect of 
their actions on herself. Thus a circumstance occurred, while 
the sisters were together in their own room after breakfast, 
which sank the heart of Mrs. Jennings still lower in her 
estimation ; because, through her own weakness, it chanced to 
prove a source of fresh pain to herself, though Mrs. Jennings 
was governed in it by an impulse of the utmost good-will.' 

With a letter in her outstretched hand, and countenance 
gaily smiling, from the persuasion of bringing comfort, she 
entered their room, saying — 

' Now, my dear, I bring you something that I am sure will 
do you good.' 

Marianne heard enough. In one moment her imagination 
placed before her a letter from Willoughby, full of tenderness 
and contrition, explanatory of all that had passed, satisfactory, 
convincing ; and instantly followed by Willoughby himself, rush- 
ing eagerly into the room to enforce, at her feet, by the eloquence 
of his eyes, the assurances of his letter. The work of one moment 
was destroyed by the next. The handwriting of her mother, 
never till then unwelcome, was before her ; and, in the acuteness 
of the disappointment which followed such an ecstasy of more 
than hope, she felt as if, till that instant, she had never suffered. 

The cruelty of Mrs. Jennings no language, within her reach 



in her moments of happiest eloquence, could have expressed ; 
and now she could reproach her only by the tears which 
streamed from her eyes with passionate violence ; — a reproach, 
however, so entirely lost on its object, that, after many expres- 
sions of pity, she withdrew, still referring her to the letter for 
comfort. But the letter, when she was calm enough to read 
it, brought little comfort. Willoughby filled every page. 
Her mother, still confident of their engagement, and relying as 
warmly as ever on his constancy, had only been roused by 
Elinor's application, to* entreat from Marianne greater open- 
ness towards them both ; and this, with such tenderness 
towards her, such affection for Willoughby, and such a convic- 
tion of their future happiness in each other, that she wept with 
agony through the whole of it. 

All her impatience to be at home again now returned ; her 
mother was dearer to her than ever ; dearer through the very 
excess of her mistaken confidence in Willoughby, and she was 
wildly urgent to be gone. Elinor, unable herself to determine 
whether it were better for Marianne to be in London or at 
Barton, offered no counsel of her own, except of patience, till 
their mother's wishes could be known ; and at length she 
obtained her sister's consent to wait for that knowledge. 

Mrs. Jennings left them earlier than usual, for she could 
not be easy till the Middletons and Palmers were able to 
grieve as much as herself; and positively refusing Elinor's 
offered attendance, went out alone for the rest of the morning. 
Elinor, with a very heavy heart, aware of the pain she was 
going to communicate, and perceiving, by Marianne's letter, 
how ill she had succeeded in laying any foundation for it, then 
sat down to write her mother an account of what had passed, 
and entreat her directions for the future ; while Marianne, 
who came into the drawing-room on Mrs. Jennings's going 
away, remained fixed at the table where Elinor wrote, watch- 
ing the advancement of her pen, grieving over her for the 
hardship of such a task, and grieving still more fondly over its 
effect on her mother. 

In this manner they had continued about a quarter of an 
hour, when Marianne, whose nerves could not then bear any 
sudden noise, was startled by a rap at the door. 

* Who can this be ? ' cried Elinor. * So early too I I 
thought we had been safe.' 



Marianne moved to the window. 

' It is Colonel Brandon ! ' said she, with vexation. { We 
are never safe from him? 

' He will not come in, as Mrs. Jennings is from home.' 

* I will not trust to that? retreating to her own room. * A 
man who has nothing to do with his own time has no con- 
science in his intrusion on that of others.' 

The event proved her conjecture right, though it was 
founded on injustice and error ; for Colonel Brandon did come 
in ; and Elinor, who was convinced that solicitude for Marianne 
brought him thither, and who saw that solicitude in his dis- 
turbed and melancholy look, and in his anxious though brief 
inquiry after her, could not forgive her sister for esteeming 
him so lightly. 

1 1 met Mrs. Jennings in Bond Street,' said he, after the 
first salutation, ' and she encouraged me to come on ; and I 
was the more easily encouraged, because I thought it probable 
that I might find you alone, which I was very desirous of 
doing. m My object — my wish — my sole wish in desiring it — I 
hope, I believe it is — is to be a means of giving comfort ; — 
no, I must not say comfort — not present comfort — but convic- 
tion, lasting conviction, to your sister's mind. My regard for 
her, for yourself, for your mother — will you allow me to prove 
it by relating some circumstances which nothing but a very 
sincere regard — nothing but an earnest desire of being useful 
— I think I am justified — though where so many hours have 
been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not 
some reason to fear I may be wrong ? ' He stopped. 

4 1 understand you,' said Elinor. * You have something to 
tell me of Mr. Willoughby, that will open his character further. 
Your telling it will be the greatest act of friendship that can 
be shown Marianne. My gratitude will be ensured immedi- 
ately by any information tending to that end, and hers must 
be gained by it in time. Pray, pray let me hear it.' 

* You shall ; and, to be brief, when I quitted Barton last 
October, — but this will give you no idea — I must go further 
back. You will find me a very awkward narrator, Miss Dash- 
wood ; I hardly know where to begin. A short account of 
myself, I believe, will be necessary, and it shall be a short 
one. On such a subject,' sighing heavily, * I can have little 
temptation to be diffuse.' 



He stopt a moment for recollection, and then, with another 
sigh, went on. 

' You have probably entirely forgotten a conversation — (it 
is not to be supposed that it could make any impression on 
you) — a conversation between us one evening at Barton Park 
—it was the evening of a dance — in which I alluded to a lady 
I had once known, as resembling, in some measure, your sister 

f Indeed,' answered Elinor, ' I have not forgotten it.' He 
looked pleased by this remembrance, and added — 

* If I am not deceived by the uncertainty, the partiality of 
tender recollection, there is a very strong resemblance between 
them, as well in mind as person. The same warmth of heart, 
the same eagerness of fancy and spirits. This lady was one 
of my nearest relations, an orphan from her infancy, and under 
the guardianship of my father. Our ages were nearly the 
same, and from our earliest years we were playfellows and 
friends. I cannot remember the time when I did not love 
Eliza J and my affection for her, as we grew up, was such as, 
perhaps, judging from my present forlorn and cheerless gravity, 
you might think me incapable of having ever felt. Hers for 
me was, I believe, fervent as the attachment of your sister to 
Mr. Willoughby, and it was, though from a different cause, no 
less unfortunate. At seventeen she was lost to me for ever. 
She was married — married against her inclination — to my 
brother. Her fortune was large, and our family estate much 
encumbered. And this, I fear, is all that can be said for the 
conduct of one who was at once her uncle and guardian. 
My brother did not deserve her ; he did not even love her. I 
had hoped that her regard for me would support her under 
any difficulty, and for some time it did ; but at last the misery 
of her situation, for she experienced great unkindness, over- 
came all her resolution, and though she had promised me that 
nothing — but how blindly I relate ! I have never told you 
how this was brought on. We were within a few hours of 
eloping together for Scotland. The treachery, or the folly, 
of my cousin's maid betrayed us. I was banished to the house 
of a relation far distant, and she was allowed no liberty, no 
society, no amusement, till my father's point was gained. I 
had depended on her fortitude too far, and the blow was a 
severe one ; — but had her marriage been happy, so young as I 

N 177 


then was, a few months must have reconciled me to it, or at 
least I should not have now to lament it. This, however, was 
not the case. My brother had no regard for her ; his pleasures 
were not what they ought to have been, and from the first he 
treated her unkindly. The consequence of this, upon a mind 
so young, so lively, so inexperienced as Mrs. Brandon's, was 
but too natural. She resigned herself at first to all the misery 
of her situation ; and happy had it been if she had not lived 
to overcome those regrets which the remembrance of me 
occasioned. But can we wonder that, with such a husband to 
provoke inconstancy, and without a friend to advise or restrain 
her (for my father lived only a few months after their marriage, 
and I was with my regiment in the East Indies), she should 
fall ? Had I remained in England, perhaps, — but I meant to 
promote the happiness of both by removing from her for years, 
and for that purpose had procured my exchange. The shock 
which her marriage had given me,' he continued, in a voice of 
great agitation, * was of trifling weight — was nothing to what 
I felt when I heard, about two years afterwards, of her divorce. 
It was that which threw this gloom, — even now the recollec- 
tion of what I suffered ' 

He could say no more, and, rising hastily, walked for a few 
minutes about the room. Elinor, affected by his relation, and 
still more by his distress, could not speak. He saw her 
concern, and coming to her, took her hand, pressed it, and 
kissed it with grateful respect. A few minutes more of silent 
exertion enabled him to proceed with composure. 

1 It was nearly three years after this unhappy period before 
I returned to England. My first care, when I did arrive, was 
of course to seek for her ; but the search was as fruitless as 
it was melancholy. I could not trace her beyond her first 
seducer, and there was every reason to fear that she had 
removed from him only to sink deeper in a life of sin. Her 
legal allowance was not adequate to her fortune, nor sufficient 
for her comfortable maintenance ; and I learnt from my 
brother that the power of receiving it had been made over 
some months before to another person. He imagined, and 
calmly could he imagine it, that her extravagance, and con- 
sequent distress, had obliged her to dispose of it for some 
immediate relief. At last, however, and after I had been six 
months in England, I did find her. Regard for a former 

i 7 8 


servant of my own, who had since fallen into misfortune, 
carried me to visit him in a spunging- house, where he was 
confined for debt; and there, in the same house, under a 
similar confinement, was my unfortunate sister. So altered — 
so faded — worn down by acute suffering of every kind ! hardly 
could I believe the melancholy and sickly figure before me to 
be the remains of the lovely, blooming, healthful girl, on 
whom I had once doated. What I endured in so beholding 
her — but I have no right to wound your feelings by attempting 
to describe it — I have pained you too much already. That 
she was, to all appearance, in the last stage of a consumption 
was — yes, in such a situation, it was my greatest comfort. 
Life could do nothing for her, beyond giving time for a better 
preparation for death ; and that was given. I saw her placed 
in comfortable lodgings, and under proper attendants ; I 
visited her every day during the rest of her short life ; I was 
with her in her last moments.' 

Again he stopped to recover himself; and Elinor spoke 
her feelings in an exclamation of tender concern at the fate of 
his unfortunate friend. 

4 Your sister, I hope, cannot be offended/ said he, ' by the 
resemblance I have fancied between her and my poor disgraced 
relation. Their fates, their fortunes, cannot be the same ; and 
had the natural sweet disposition of the one been guarded by 
a firmer mind, or a happier marriage, she might have been 
all that you will live to see the other be. But to what does all 
this lead ? I seem to have been distressing you for nothing. 
Ah 1 Miss Dashwood — a subject such as this — untouched for 
fourteen years — it is dangerous to handle it at all ! I will be 
more collected — more concise. She left to my care her only 
child, a little girl, the offspring of her first guilty connection, 
who was then about three years old. She loved the child, 
and had always kept it with her. It was a valued, a precious 
trust to me ; and gladly would I have discharged it in the 
strictest sense, by watching over her education myself, had the 
nature of our situations allowed it ; but I had no family, no 
home ; and my little Eliza was, therefore, placed at school. I 
saw her there whenever I could ; and after the death of my 
brother (which happened about five years ago, and which left 
to me the possession of the family property), she frequently 
visited me at Delaford. I called her a distant relation ; but I 



am well aware that I have in general been suspected of a 
much nearer connection with her. It is now three years ago 
(she had just reached her fourteenth year) that I removed her 
from school, to place her under the care of a very respectable 
woman residing in Dorsetshire, who had the charge of four or 
five other girls of about the same time of life ; and for two 
years I had every reason to be pleased with her situation. 
But last February, almost a twelvemonth back, she suddenly 
disappeared. I had allowed her (imprudently, as it has since 
turned out), at her earnest desire, to go to Bath with one of 
her young friends, who was attending her father there for his 
health. I knew him to be a very good sort of man, and I 
thought well of his daughter — better than she deserved ; for, 
with a most obstinate and ill-judged secrecy, she would tell 
nothing, would give no clue, though she certainly knew all. 
He, her father, a well-meaning, but not a quick-sighted man, 
could really, I believe, give no information ; for he had been 
generally confined to the house, while the girls were ranging 
over the town, and making what acquaintance they chose ; 
and he tried to convince me, as thoroughly as he was convinced 
himself, of his daughter's being entirely unconcerned in the 
business. In short, I could learn nothing but that she was 
gone ; all the rest, for eight long months, was left to conjecture. 
What I thought, what I feared, may be imagined ; and what I 
suffered too.' 

' Good heavens ! ' cried Elinor, ( could it be — could 
Willoughby ! '— 

'The first news that reached me of her,' he continued, 
' came in a letter from herself last October. It was forwarded 
to me from Delaford, and I received it on the very morning of 
our intended party to Whitwell ; and this was the reason of 
my leaving Barton so suddenly, which I am sure must at the 
time have appeared strange to everybody, and which I believe 
gave offence to some. Little did Mr. Willoughby imagine, I 
suppose, when his looks censured me for incivility in breaking 
up the party, that I was called away to the relief of one whom 
he had made poor and miserable ; but had he known it, what 
would it have availed ? Would he have been less gay or less 
happy in the smiles of your sister ? No, he had already done 
that which no man who can feel for another would do. He 
had left the girl whose youth and innocence he had seduced in 

1 80 


a situation of the utmost distress, with no creditable home, no 
help, no friends, ignorant of his address ! He had left her, 
promising to return ; he neither returned, nor wrote, nor re- 
lieved her.' 

* This is beyond everything ! ' exclaimed Elinor. 

' His character is now before you, — expensive, dissipated, 
and worse than both. Knowing all this, as I have now known 
it many weeks, guess what I must have felt on seeing your 
sister as fond of him as ever, and on being assured that she 
was to marry him ; guess what I must have felt for all your 
sakes. When I came to you last week and found you alone, I 
came determined to know the truth ; though irresolute what to 
do when it was known. My behaviour must have seemed 
strange to you then ; but now you will comprehend it. To 
suffer you all to be so deceived ; to see your sister — but what 
could I do ? I had no hope of interfering with success ; and 
sometimes I thought your sister's influence might yet reclaim 
him. But now, after such dishonourable usage, who can tell 
what were his designs on her? Whatever they may have 
been, however, she may now, and hereafter doubtless will, 
turn with gratitude towards her own condition, when she 
compares it with that of my poor Eliza ; when she considers 
the wretched and hopeless situation of this poor girl, and 
pictures her to herself with an affection for him as strong, still 
as strong as her own, and with a mind tormented by self- 
reproach, which must attend her through life. Surely this 
comparison must have its use with her. She will feel her own 
sufferings to be nothing : they proceed from no misconduct, 
and can bring no disgrace. On the contrary, every friend 
must be made still more her friend by them. Concern for 
her unhappiness, and respect for her fortitude under it, must 
strengthen every attachment. Use your own discretion, how- 
ever, in communicating to her what I have told you. You 
must know best what will be its effect ; but had I not seriously 
and from my heart believed it might be of service, might lessen 
her regrets, I would not have suffered myself to trouble you 
with this account of my family afflictions, — with a recital which 
may seem to have been intended to raise myself at the expense 
of others.' 

Elinor's thanks followed this speech with grateful earnest- 
ness ; attended, too, with the assurance of her expecting 



material advantage to Marianne from the communication of 
what had passed. 

' 1 have been more pained, 9 said she, c by her endeavours 
to acquit him than by all the rest ; for it irritates her mind 
more than the most perfect conviction of his unworthiness can 
do. Now, though at first she will suffer much, I am sure she 
will soon become easier. Have you,' she continued, after a 
short silence, ' ever seen Mr. Willoughby since you left him at 
Barton ? ' 

' Yes,' he replied gravely, ' once I have. One meeting was 

Elinor, startled by his manner, looked at him anxiously, 
saying — 

i What ! have you met him to ' 

* I could meet him in no other way. Eliza had confessed 
to me, though most reluctantly, the name of her lover; and 
when he returned to town, which was within a fortnight after 
myself, we met by appointment ; he to defend, I to punish his 
conduct. We returned unwounded, and the meeting, therefore, 
never got abroad.' 

Elinor sighed over the fancied necessity of this ; but to a 
man and a soldier she presumed not to censure it. 

4 Such, 9 said Colonel Brandon, after a pause, c has been the 
unhappy resemblance between the fate of mother and daughter ; 
and so imperfectly have I discharged my trust.* 

1 Is she still in town ? ' 

' No ; as soon as she recovered from her lying-in, for I 
found her near her delivery, I removed her and her child into 
the country, and there she remains.' 

Recollecting, soon afterwards, that he was probably dividing 
Elinor from her sister, he put an end to his visit, receiving 
from her again the same grateful acknowledgments, and leav- 
ing her full of compassion and esteem for him. 




When the particulars of this conversation were repeated by 
Miss Dashwood to her sister, as they very soon were, the 
effect on her was not entirely such as the former had hoped 
to see. Not that Marianne appeared to distrust the truth of 
any part of it, for she listened to it all with the most steady 
and submissive attention, made neither objection nor remark, 
attempted no vindication of Willoughby, and seemed to show 
by her tears that she felt it to be impossible. But though this 
behaviour assured Elinor that the conviction of his guilt was 
carried home to her mind, though she saw with satisfaction 
the effect of it, in her no longer avoiding Colonel Brandon 
when he called, in her speaking to him, even voluntarily 
speaking, with a kind of compassionate respect, and though 
she saw her spirits less violently irritated than before, she did 
not see her less wretched. Her mind did become settled, but 
it was settled in a gloomy dejection. She felt the loss of 
Willoughby's character yet more heavily than she had felt the 
loss of his heart ; his seduction and desertion of Miss Williams, 
the misery of that poor girl, and the doubt of what his designs 
might once have been on herself, preyed altogether so much on 
her spirits, that she could not bring herself to speak of what 
she felt even to Elinor ; and, brooding over her sorrows in 
silence, gave more pain to her sister than could have been 
communicated by the most open and most frequent confession 
of them. 

To give the feelings or the language of Mrs. Dashwood on 
receiving and answering Elinor's letter would be only to give a 
repetition of what her daughters had already felt and said ; of 
a disappointment hardly less painful than Marianne's, and an 
indignation even greater than Elinor's. Long letters from her, 
quickly succeeding each other, arrived to tell all that she 
suffered and thought ; to express her anxious solicitude for 
Marianne, and entreat she would bear up with fortitude under 
this misfortune. Bad, indeed, must the nature of Marianne's 
affliction be, when her mother could talk of fortitude ! morti- 
fying and humiliating must be the origin of those regrets which 
she could wish her not to indulge. 



Against the interest of her own individual comfort, Mrs. 
Dashvvood had determined that it would be better for 
Marianne to be anywhere, at that time, than at Barton, 
where everything within her view would be bringing back the 
past in the strongest and most afflicting manner, by constantly 
placing Willoughby before her, such as she had always seen 
him there. She recommended it to her daughters, therefore, 
by all means not to shorten their visit to Mrs. Jennings ; the 
length of which, though never exactly fixed, had been expected 
by all to comprise at least five or six weeks. A variety of 
occupations, of objects, and of company, which could not be 
procured at Barton, would be inevitable there, and might yet, 
she hoped, cheat Marianne, at times, into some interest beyond 
herself, and even into some amusement, much as the idea of 
both might now be spurned by her. 

From all danger of seeing Willoughby again her mother 
considered her to be at least equally safe in town as in the 
country, since his acquaintance must now be dropped by all 
who called themselves her friends. Design could never bring 
them in each other's way : negligence could never leave them 
exposed to a surprise ; and chance had less in its favour in the 
crowd of London than even in the retirement of Barton, where 
it might force him before her while paying that visit at 
Allenham on his marriage, which Mrs. Dashwood, from fore- 
seeing at first as a probable event, had brought herself to 
expect as a certain one. 

She had yet another reason for wishing her children to 
remain where they were ; a letter from her son-in-law had told 
her that he and his wife were to be in town before the middle 
of February, and she judged it right that they should some- 
times see their brother. 

Marianne had promised to be guided by her mother's 
opinion, and she submitted to it, therefore, without opposition, 
though it proved perfectly different from what she wished and 
expected, though she felt it to be entirely wrong, formed on 
mistaken grounds ; and that, by requiring her longer continu- 
ance in London, it deprived her of the only possible alleviation 
of her wretchedness, the personal sympathy of her mother, and 
doomed her to such society and such scenes as must prevent 
her ever knowing a moment's rest. 

But it was a matter of great consolation to her that what 


brought evil to herself would bring good to her sister ; and 
Elinor, on the other hand, suspecting that it would not be in 
her power to avoid Edward entirely, comforted herself by 
thinking that, though their longer stay would therefore militate 
against her own happiness, it would be better for Marianne 
than an immediate return into Devonshire. 

Her carefulness in guarding her sister from ever hearing 
Willoughby's name mentioned was not thrown away. Mari- 
anne, though without knowing it herself, reaped all its 
advantage ; for neither Mrs. Jennings, nor Sir John, nor even 
Mrs. Palmer herself, ever spoke of him before her. Elinor 
wished that the same forbearance could have extended towards 
herself, but that was impossible, and she was obliged to listen, 
day after day, to the indignation of them all. 

Sir John could not have thought it possible. 'A man of 
whom he had always had such reason to think well ! Such a 
good-natured fellow ! He did not believe there was a bolder 
rider in England ! It was an unaccountable business. He 
wished him at the devil with all his heart. He would not 
speak another word to him, meet him where he might, for all 
the world ! No, not if it were to be by the side of Barton 
covert, and they were kept waiting for two hours together. 
Such a scoundrel of a fellow ! such a deceitful dog ! It was 
only the last time they met that he had offered him one of 
Folly's puppies ! and this was the end of it ! ' 

Mrs. Palmer, in her way, was equally angry. l She was 
determined to drop his acquaintance immediately, and she was 
very thankful that she had never been acquainted with him at 
all. She wished with all her heart Combe Magna was not so 
near Cleveland ; but it did not signify, for it was a great deal 
too far off to visit ; she hated him so much that she was 
resolved never to mention his name again, and she should tell 
everybody she saw how good-for-nothing he was.' 

The rest of Mrs. Palmer's sympathy was shown in procuring 
all the particulars in her power of the approaching marriage, 
and communicating them to Elinor. She could soon tell at 
what coachmaker's the new carriage was building, by what 
painter Mr. Willoughby's portrait was drawn, and at what 
warehouse Miss Grey's clothes might be seen. 

The calm and polite unconcern of Lady Middleton on the 
occasion was a happy relief to Elinor's spirits, oppressed as 


Offered him one o/Foltys puppies. 


they often were by the clamorous kindness of the others. 
It was a great comfort to her to be sure of exciting no interest 
in one person at least among their circle of friends ; a great 
comfort to know that there was one who would meet her 
without feeling any curiosity after particulars, or any anxiety 
for her sister's health. 

Every qualification is raised at times, by the circumstances 
of the moment, to more than its real value ; and she was 
sometimes worried down by officious condolence to rate good- 
breeding as more indispensable to comfort than good-nature. 

Lady Middleton expressed her sense of the affair about 
once every day, or twice, if the subject occurred very often, by 
saying, * It is very shocking, indeed ! ' and by the means of 
this continual, though gentle, vent, was able not only to see the 
Miss Dashwoods, from the first, without the smallest emotion, 
but very soon to see them without recollecting a word of the 
matter ; and having thus supported the dignity of her own sex, 
and spoken her decided censure of what was wrong in the 
other, she thought herself at liberty to attend to the interest of 
her own assemblies, and therefore determined (though rather 
against the opinion of Sir John), as Mrs. Willoughby would at 
once be a woman of elegance and fortune, to leave her card 
with her as soon as she married. 

Colonel Brandon's delicate, unobtrusive inquiries were 
never unwelcome to Miss Dashwood. He had abundantly 
earned the privilege of intimate discussion of her sister's 
disappointment, by the friendly zeal with which he had 
endeavoured to soften it, and they always conversed with 
confidence. His chief reward for the painful exertion of 
disclosing past sorrows and present humiliations was given in 
the pitying eye with which Marianne sometimes observed him, 
and the gentleness of her voice, whenever (though it did not 
often happen) she was obliged, or could oblige herself, to speak 
to him. These assured him that his exertion had produced an 
increase of good-will towards himself, and these gave Elinor 
hopes of its being further augmented hereafter ; but Mrs. 
Jennings, who knew nothing of all this, who knew only that 
the Colonel continued as grave as ever, and that she could 
neither prevail on him to make the offer himself, nor com- 
mission her to make it for him, began, at the end of two days, 
to think that, instead of Midsummer, they would not be 



married till Michaelmas, and by the end of a week that it 
would not be a match at all. The good understanding 
between the Colonel and Miss Dashwood seemed rather to 
declare that the honours of the mulberry-tree, the canal, and 
the yew arbour, would all be made over to herj and Mrs. 
Jennings had, for some time, ceased to think at all of Mr. 

Early in February, within a fortnight from the receipt of 
Willoughby's letter, Elinor had the painful office of informing 
her sister that he was married. She had taken care to have 
the intelligence conveyed to herself, as soon as it was known 
that the ceremony was over, as she was desirous that Marianne 
should not receive the first notice of it from the public papers, 
which she saw her eagerly examining every morning. * 

She received the news with resolute composure ,* made no 
observation on it, and at first shed no tears ; but after a short 
time they would burst out, and for the rest of the day she was 
in a state hardly less pitiable than when she first learnt to 
expect the event. 

The Willoughbys left town as soon as they were married ; 
and Elinor now hoped, as there could be no danger of her 
seeing either of them, to prevail on her sister, who had never 
yet left the house since the blow first fell, to go out again, by 
degrees, as she had done before. 

About this time the two Miss Steeles, lately arrived at 
their cousin's house in Bartlett's Buildings, Holborn, pre- 
sented themselves again before their more grand relations in 
Conduit and Berkeley Street ; and were welcomed by them all 
with great cordiality. 

Elinor only was sorry to see them. Their presence always 
gave her pain, and she hardly knew how to make a very 
gracious return to the overpowering delight of Lucy in finding 
her still in town. 

* I should have been quite disappointed if I had not found 
you here still] said she repeatedly, with a strong emphasis on 
the word. * But I always thought I should. I was almost 
sure you would not leave London yet awhile, though you 
told me, you know, at Barton, that you should not stay above 
a month. But I thought, at the time, that you would most 
likely change your mind when it came to the point. It would 
have been such a great pity to have went away before your 


brother and sister came. And now, to be sure, you will be in 
no hurry to be gone. I am amazingly glad you did not keep 
to your word? 

Elinor perfectly understood her, and was forced to use all 
her self-command to make it appear that she did not. 

'Well, my dear,' said Mrs. Jennings, 'and how did you 
travel ? ' 

1 Not in the stage, I assure you,' replied Miss Steele, with 
quick exultation ; * we came post all the way, and had a very 
smart beau to attend us. Dr. Davies was coming to town, 
and so we thought we'd join him in a postchaise ; and he 
behaved very genteelly, and paid ten or twelve shillings more 
than we did.' 

' Oh, "oh !' cried Mrs. Jennings ; 'very pretty, indeed ! and 
the Doctor is a single man, I warrant you. 5 

' There now,' said Miss Steele, affectedly simpering, 
' everybody laughs at me so about the Doctor, and I cannot 
think why. My cousins say they are sure I have made a 
conquest ; but for my part I declare I never think about him 
from one hour's end to another. " Lord ! here comes your 
beau, Nancy," my cousin said t'other day, when she saw him 
crossing the street to the house. My beau, indeed ! said I — 
I cannot think who you mean. The Doctor is no beau of mine.' 

' Ay, ay, that is very pretty talking — but it won't do — the 
Doctor is the man, I see.' 

' No, indeed ! ' replied her cousin, with affected earnest- 
ness, 'and I beg you will contradict it if you ever hear it 
talked of.' 

Mrs. Jennings directly gave her the gratifying assurance 
that she certainly would not, and Miss Steele was made 
completely happy. 

' I suppose you will go and stay with your brother and 
sister, Miss Dashwood, when they come to town,' said Lucy, 
returning, after a cessation of hostile hints, to the charge. 

' No, I do not think we shall.' 

' Oh yes, I daresay you will.' 

Elinor would not humour her by further opposition. 

'What a charming thing it is that Mrs. Dashwood can 
spare you both for so long a time together ! ' 

' Long a time, indeed ! ' interposed Mrs. Jennings. ' Why, 
their visit is but just begun ! ' 


A very smart beau. 


Lucy was silenced. 

* I am sorry we cannot see your sister, Miss Dashwood,' 
said Miss Steele. £ I am sorry she is not well ' ; for Marianne 
had left the room on their arrival. 

'You are very good. My sister will be equally sorry to 
miss the pleasure of seeing you ; but she has been very 
much plagued lately with nervous headaches, which make her 
unfit for company or conversation/ 

' Oh dear, that is a great pity ! but such old friends as 
Lucy and me ! — I think she might see us; and I am sure we 
would not speak a word.' 

Elinor, with great civility, declined the proposal. Her 
sister was, perhaps, laid down upon the bed, or in her dressing- 
gown, and therefore not able to come to them. 

' Oh, if that's all,' cried Miss Steele, ' we can just as well go 
and see her? 

Elinor began to find this impertinence too much for her 
temper ; but she was saved the trouble of checking it by Lucy's 
sharp reprimand, which now, as on many occasions, though it 
did not give much sweetness to the manners of one sister, was 
of advantage in governing those of the other. 


After some opposition, Marianne yielded to her sister ; s 
entreaties, and consented to go out with her and Mrs. Jennings 
one morning for half an hour. She expressly conditioned, 
however, for paying no visits, and would do no more than 
accompany them to Gray's in Sackville Street, where Elinor 
was carrying on a negotiation for the exchange of a few old- 
fashioned jewels of her mother. 

When they stopped at the door, Mrs. Jennings recollected 
that there was a lady at the other end of the street on whom 
she ought to call ; and as she had no business at Gray's, it was 
resolved that while her young friends transacted theirs, she 
should pay her visit, and return for them. 

On ascending the stairs, the Miss Dashwoods found so 
many people before them in the room, that there was not a 



person at liberty to attend to their orders ; and they were 
obliged to wait. All that could be done was to sit down at 
that end of the counter which seemed to promise the quickest 
succession ; one gentleman only was standing there, and it is 
probable that Elinor was not without hope of exciting his 
politeness to a quicker despatch. But the correctness of his 
eye, and the delicacy of his taste, proved to be beyond his 
politeness. He was giving orders for a toothpick- case for 
himself ; and till its size, shape, and ornaments were determined, 
all of which, after examining and debating for a quarter of an 
hour over every toothpick-case in the shop, were finally arranged 
by his own inventive fancy, he had no leisure to bestow any 
other attention on the two ladies than what was comprised in 
three or four very broad stares ; a kind of notice which served 
to imprint on Elinor the remembrance of a person and face of 
strong, natural, sterling insignificance, though adorned in the 
first style of fashion. 

Marianne was spared from the troublesome feelings of 
contempt and resentment, on this impertinent examination of 
their features, and on the puppyism of his manner in deciding 
on all the different horrors of the different toothpick-cases 
presented to his inspection, by remaining unconscious of it all ; 
for she was as well able to collect her thoughts within herself, 
and be as ignorant of what was passing around her, in Mr. 
Gray's shop, as in her own bedroom. 

At last the affair was decided. The ivory, the gold, and 
the pearls, all received their appointment ; and the gentleman 
having named the last day on which his existence could be 
continued without the possession of the toothpick-case, drew on 
his gloves with leisurely care, and bestowing another glance 
on the Miss Dashwoods, but such a one as seemed rather to 
demand than express admiration, walked off with a happy air 
of real conceit and affected indifference. 

Elinor lost no time in bringing her business forward, and 
was on the point of concluding it, when another gentleman 
presented himself at her side. She turned her eyes towards 
his face, and found him, with some surprise, to be her 

Their affection and pleasure in meeting was just enough to 
make a very creditable appearance in Mr. Gray's shop. John 
Dashwood was really far from being sorry to see his sisters 


Introduced to Mrs. Jennings, 


again ; it rather gave them satisfaction ; and his inquiries after 
their mother were respectful and attentive. 

Elinor found that he and Fanny had been in town two days. 

* I wished very much to call upon you yesterday,' said he, 
but it was impossible, for we were obliged to take Harry to 
see the wild beasts at Exeter Exchange : and we spent the 
rest of the day with Mrs. Ferrars. Harry was vastly pleased. 
This morning I had fully intended to call on you, if I could 
possibly find a spare half-hour, but one has always so much to 
do on first coming to town. I am come here to bespeak 
Fanny a seal. But to-morrow I think I shall certainly be able 
to call in Berkeley Street, and be introduced to your friend Mrs. 
Jennings, I understand she is a woman of very good fortune. 
And the Middletons, too, you must introduce me to them. 
As my mother-in-law's relations, I shall be happy to show them 
every respect. They are excellent neighbours to you in the 
country, I understand. 3 

* Excellent indeed. Their attention to our comfort, their 
friendliness in every particular, is more than I can express.' 

* I am extremely glad to hear it, upon my word ; extremely 
glad indeed. But so it ought to be ; they are people of large 
fortune ; they are related to you ; and every civility and accom- 
modation that can serve to make your situation pleasant might 
be reasonably expected. And so you are most comfortably 
settled in your little cottage, and want for nothing ! Edward 
brought us a most charming account of the place : the most 
complete thing of its kind, he said, that ever was, and you all 
seemed to enjoy it beyond anything. It was a great satisfac- 
tion to us to hear it, I assure you.' 

Elinor did feel a little ashamed of her brother ; and was not 
sorry to be spared the necessity of answering him, by the 
arrival of Mrs. Jennings's servant, who came to tell her that his 
mistress waited for them at the door. 

Mr. Dashwood attended them downstairs, was introduced 
to Mrs. Jennings at the door of her carriage, and repeating his 
hope of being able to call on them the next day, took leave. 

His visit was duly paid. He came with a pretence at an 
apology from their sister-in-law for not coming too ; * but she 
was so much engaged with her mother, that really she had no 
leisure for going anywhere.' Mrs. Jennings, however, assured 
him directly that she should not stand upon ceremony, for they 


Mrs. Jennings assured him directly that she should not stand upon ceremony* 


were all cousins, or something like it, and she should certainly 
wait on Mrs. John Dashwood very soon, and bring her sisters 
to see her. His manners to them^ though calm, were perfectly 
kind ; to Mrs. Jennings, most attentively civil ; and on Colonel 
Brandon's coming in soon after himself, he eyed him with a 
curiosity which seemed to say that he only wanted to know 
him to be rich to be equally civil to him. 

After staying with them half an hour, he asked Elinor to 
walk with him to Conduit Street, and introduce him to Sir 
John and Lady Middleton. The weather was remarkably fine, 
and she readily consented. As soon as they were out of the 
house, his inquiries began. 

' Who is Colonel Brandon ? Is he a man of fortune ? ' 

* Yes ; he has very good property in Dorsetshire. 7 

* I am glad of it. He seems a most gentlemanlike man ; 
and I think, Elinor, I may congratulate you on the prospect of 
a very respectable establishment in life.' 

1 Me, brother ! what do you mean ? ' 

' He likes you. I observed him narrowly, and am convinced 
of it. What is the amount of his fortune ? i 
1 I believe about two thousand a year.' 

* Two thousand a year ? ' and then working himself up to a 
pitch of enthusiastic generosity, he added, * Elinor, I wish with 
all my heart it were twice as much for your sake.' 

* Indeed I believe you,' replied Elinor ; * but I am very 
sure that Colonel Brandon has not the smallest wish of marry- 
ing me? 

i You are mistaken, Elinor ; you are very much mistaken. 
A very little trouble on your side secures him. Perhaps just 
at present he may be undecided ; the smallness of your fortune 
may make him hang back ; his friends may all advise him 
against it. But some of those little attentions and encourage- 
ments which ladies can so easily give will fix him in spite of 
himself. And there can be no reason why you should not try 
for him. It is not to be supposed that any prior attachment 
on your side ; — in short, you know, as to an attachment of that 
kind, it is quite out of the question, the objections are insur- 
mountable — you have too much sense not to see all that. 
Colonel Brandon must be the man ; and no civility shall be 
wanting on my part to make him pleased with you and your 
family. It is a match that must give universal satisfaction. 



In short, it is a kind of thing that,' lowering his voice to an 
important whisper, 'will be exceedingly welcome to all parties? 
Recollecting himself, however, he added, ' That is, I mean to 
say — your friends are all truly anxious to see you well settled ; 
Fanny particularly, for she has your interest very much at 
heart, I assure you. And her mother, too, Mrs. Ferrars, a 
very good-natured woman, I am sure it would give her great 
pleasure ; she said as much the other day.' 

Elinor would not vouchsafe any answer. 

c It would be something remarkable, now,' he continued, 
'something droll, if Fanny should have a brother and I a 
sister settling at the same time. And yet it is not very 

' Is Mr. Edward Ferrars,' said Elinor, with resolution, 
c going to be married ? ' 

' It is not actually settled, but there is such a thing in 
agitation. He has a most excellent mother. Mrs. Ferrars, 
with the utmost liberality, will come forward, and settle on 
him a thousand a year, if the match takes place. The lady 
is the Hon. Miss Morton, only daughter of the late Lord 
Morton, with thirty thousand pounds. A very desirable con- 
nection on both sides, and I have not a doubt of its taking 
place in time. A thousand a year is a great deal for a mother 
to give away, to make over for ever ; but Mrs. Ferrars has a 
noble spirit. To give you another instance of her liberality : — 
The other day, as soon as we came to town, aware that 
money could not be very plenty with us just now, she put 
bank-notes into Fanny's hands to the amount of two hundred 
pounds. And extremely acceptable it is, for we must live at a 
great expense while we are here.' 

He paused for her assent and compassion ; and she forced 
herself to say — 

1 Your expenses both in town and country must certainly be 
considerable ; but your income is a large one.' 

1 Not so large, I daresay, as many people suppose. I do 
not mean to complain, however ; it is undoubtedly a com- 
fortable one, and I hope will in time be better. The enclosure 
of Norland Common, now carrying on, is a most serious drain. 
And then I have made a little purchase within this half-year ; 
East Kingham Farm, you must remember the place, where 
old Gibson used to live. The land was so very desirable for 



me in every respect, so immediately adjoining my own property, 
that I felt it my duty to buy it. I could not have answered 
it to my conscience to let it fall into any other hands. A man 
must pay for his convenience ; and it has cost me a vast deal 
of money.' 

1 More than you think it really and intrinsically worth ? ' 

1 Why, I hope not that. I might have sold it again, the 
next day, for more than I gave : but, with regard to the 
purchase-money, I might have been very unfortunate indeed ; 
for the stocks were, at that time, so low, that if I had not 
happened to have the necessary sum in my banker's hands, I 
must have sold out to very great loss.' 

Elinor could only smile. 

£ Other great and inevitable expenses, too, we have had on 
first coming to Norland. Our respected father, as you well 
know, bequeathed all the Stanhill effects that remained at 
Norland (and very valuable they were) to your mother. Far 
be it from me to repine at his doing so ; he had an undoubted 
right to dispose of his own property as he chose. But, in 
consequence of it, we have been obliged to make large 
purchases of linen, china, etc., to supply the place of what was 
taken away. You may guess, after all these expenses, how 
very far we must be from being rich, and how acceptable Mrs. 
Ferrars's kindness is.' 

1 Certainly,' said Elinor ; f and, assisted by her liberality, I 
hope you may yet live to be in easy circumstances.' 

' Another year or two may do much towards it,' he gravely 
replied ; f but, however, there is still a great deal to be done. 
There is not a stone laid of Fanny's greenhouse, and nothing 
but the plan of the flower-garden marked out.' 

c Where is the greenhouse to be ? ' 

' Upon the knoll behind the house. The old walnut trees 
are all come down to make room for it. It will be a very 
fine object from many parts of the park ; and the flower- 
garden will slope down just before it, and be exceedingly 
pretty. We have cleared away all the old thorns that grew in 
patches over the brow.' 

Elinor kept her concern and her censure to herself; and 
was very thankful that Marianne was not present to share the 

Having now said enough to make his poverty clear, and to 


do away the necessity of buying a pair of ear-rings for each of 
his sisters, in his next visit at Gray's, his thoughts took a 
cheerfuller turn, and he began to congratulate Elinor on having 
such a friend as Mrs. Jennings. 

' She seems a most valuable woman indeed. Her house, 
her style of living, all bespeak an exceeding good income ; and 
it is an acquaintance that has not only been of great use to 
you hitherto, but in the end may prove materially advan- 
tageous. Her inviting you to town is certainly a vast thing 
in your favour ; and indeed it speaks altogether so great 
a regard for you, that in all probability when she dies you 
will not be forgotten. She must have a great deal to leave.' 

c Nothing at all, I should rather suppose ; for she has only 
her jointure, which will descend to her children.' 

f But it is not to be imagined that she lives up to her 
income. Few people of common prudence will do thatj and 
whatever she saves she will be able to dispose of.' 

' And do you not think it more likely that she should leave 
it to her daughters than to us ? ' 

' Her daughters are both exceedingly well married, and 
therefore I cannot perceive the necessity of her remembering 
them further. Whereas, in my opinion, by her taking so 
much notice of you, and treating you in this kind of way, she 
has given you a sort of claim on her future consideration, 
which a conscientious woman would not disregard. Nothing 
can be kinder than her behaviour ; and she can hardly do all 
this without being aware of the expectation she raises.' 

' But she raises none in those most concerned. Indeed, 
brother, your anxiety for our welfare and prosperity carries 
you too far.' 

1 Why, to be sure,' said he, seeming to recollect himself, 
c people have little, have very little in their power. But, my 
dear Elinor, what is the matter with Marianne ? — she looks 
very unwell, has lost her colour, and is grown quite thin. Is 
she ill?' 

' She is not well ; she has had a nervous complaint on her 
for several weeks.' 

c I am sorry for that. At her time of life, anything of an 
illness destroys the bloom for ever ! Hers has been a very 
short one ! She was as handsome a girl last September as 
any I ever saw, — and as likely to attract the men. There 



was something in her style of beauty to please them particu- 
larly. I remember Fanny used to say that she would marry 
sooner and better than you did ; not but what she is exceed- 
ingly fond of you, but so it happened to strike her. She will 
be mistaken, however. I question whether Marianne, now, 
will marry a man worth more than five or six hundred a year 
at the utmost, and I am very much deceived if you do not 
do better. Dorsetshire ! I know very little of Dorsetshire ; 
but, my dear Elinor, I shall be exceedingly glad to know 
more of it ; and I think I can answer for your having Fanny 
and myself among the earliest and best pleased of your 

Elinor tried very seriously to convince him that there was 
no likelihood of her marrying Colonel Brandon ; but it was 
an expectation of too much pleasure to himself to be relin- 
quished, and he was really resolved on seeking an intimacy 
with that gentleman, and promoting the marriage by every 
possible attention. He had just compunction enough for 
having done nothing for his sisters himself, to be exceed- 
ingly anxious that everybody else should do a great deal ; 
and an offer from Colonel Brandon, or a legacy from Mrs. 
Jennings, was the easiest means of atoning for his own 

They were lucky enough to find Lady Middleton at home, 
and Sir John < came in before their visit ended. Abundance 
of civilities passed on all sides. Sir John was ready to like 
anybody ; and though Mr. Dashwood did not seem to know 
much about horses, he soon set him down as a very good- 
natured fellow : while Lady Middleton saw enough o£ fashion 
in his appearance to think his acquaintance worth having ; 
and Mr. Dashwood went away delighted with both. 

' I shall have a charming account to carry to Fanny,' said 
he, as he walked back with his sister. * Lady Middleton is 
really a most elegant woman ! Such a woman as, I am sure, 
Fanny will be glad to know. And Mrs. Jennings too, an 
exceeding well-behaved woman, though not so elegant as her 
daughter. Your sister need not have any scruple, even of 
visiting her, which, to say the truth, has been a little the case, 
and very naturally ; for we only knew that Mrs. Jennings was 
the widow of a man who had got all his money in a low way ; 
and Fanny and Mrs. Ferrars were both strongly prepossessed 



that neither she nor her daughters were such kind of women 
as Fanny would like to associate with. But now I can carry 
her a most satisfactory account of both. 


Mrs. John Dashwood had so much confidence in her 
husband's judgment that she waited the very next day both 
on Mrs. Jennings and her daughter ; and her confidence was 
rewarded by finding even the former, even the woman with 
whom her sisters were staying, by no means unworthy of 
notice ; and as for Lady Middleton, she found her one of the 
most charming women in the world ! 

Lady Middleton was equally pleased with Mrs. Dashwood. 
There was a kind of cold-hearted selfishness on both sides 
which mutually attracted them ; and they sympathised with 
each other in an insipid propriety of demeanour, and a general 
want of understanding. 

The same manners, however, which recommended Mrs. John 
Dashwood to the good opinion of Lady Middleton did not 
suit the fancy of Mrs. Jennings, and to her she appeared 
nothing more than a little proud-looking woman, of uncordial 
address, who met her husband's sisters without any affection, 
and almost without having anything to say to them ; for of 
the quarter of an hour bestowed on Berkeley Street she sat 
at least seven minutes and a half in silence. 

Elinor wanted very much to know, though she did not 
choose to ask, whether Edward was then in town ; but 
nothing would have induced Fanny voluntarily to mention his 
name before her, till able to tell her that his marriage with 
Miss Morton was resolved on, or till her husband's expectations 
on Colonel Brandon were answered ; because she believed 
them still so very much attached to each other that they 
could not be too sedulously divided in word and deed on every 
occasion. The intelligence, however, which she would not 
give soon flowed from another quarter. Lucy came very 
shortly to claim Elinor's compassion on being unable to see 
Edward, though he had arrived in town with Mr. and Mrs. 



Dashwood. He dared not come to Bartlett's Buildings for 
fear of detection ; and though their mutual impatience to 
meet was not to be told, they could do nothing at present but 

Edward assured them himself of his being in town, within 
a very short time, by twice calling in Berkeley Street. 
Twice was his card found on the table when they returned 
from their morning's engagements. Elinor was pleased that 
he had called, and still more pleased that she had missed 

The Dashwoods were so prodigiously delighted with the 
Middletons that, though not much in the habit of giving any- 
thing, they determined to give them — a dinner; and soon 
after their acquaintance began, invited them to dine in Harley 
Street, where they had taken a very good house for three 
months. Their sisters and Mrs. Jennings were invited like- 
wise ; and John Dashwood was careful to secure Colonel 
Brandon, who, always glad to be where the Miss Dashwoods 
were, received his eager civilities with some surprise, but 
much more pleasure. They were to meet Mrs. Ferrars ; but 
Elinor could not learn whether her sons were to be of the party. 
The expectation of seeing her, however, was enough to make 
her interested in the engagement ; for though she could now 
meet Edward's mother without that strong anxiety which had 
once promised to attend such an introduction, though she 
could now see her with perfect indifference as to her opinion 
of herself, her desire of being in company with Mrs. Ferrars, 
her curiosity to know what she was like, was as lively as 

The interest with which she thus anticipated the party was 
soon afterwards increased, more powerfully than pleasantly, by 
her hearing that the Miss Steeles were also to be at it. 

So well had they recommended themselves to Lady 
Middleton, so agreeable had their assiduities made them to 
her, that though Lucy was certainly not elegant, and her sister 
not even genteel, she was as ready as Sir John to ask them to 
spend a week or two in Conduit Street ; and it happened to 
be particularly convenient to the Miss Steeles, as soon as the 
Dashwoods' invitation was known, that their visit should begin 
a few days before the party took place. 

Their claims to the notice of Mrs. John Dashwood, as the 


nieces of the gentleman who for many years had had the care 
of her brother, might not have done much, however, towards 
procuring them seats at her table ; but as Lady Middleton's 
guests they must be welcome ; and Lucy, who had long 
wanted to be personally known to the family, to have a nearer 
view of their characters and her own difficulties, and to have 
an opportunity of endeavouring to please them, had seldom 
been happier in her life than she was on receiving Mrs. John 
Dashwood's card. 

On Elinor its effect was very different. She began imme- 
diately to determine that Edward, who lived with his mother, 
must be asked, as his mother was, to a party given by his 
sister ; and to see him, for the first time, after all that passed, 
in the company of Lucy ! — she hardly knew how she could 
bear it ! 

These apprehensions, perhaps, were not founded entirely on 
reason, and certainly not at all on truth. They were relieved, 
however, not by her own recollection, but by the good-will of 
Lucy, who believed herself to be inflicting a severe disappoint- 
ment when she told her that Edward certainly would not be 
in Harley Street on Tuesday, and even hoped to be carrying 
the pain still further by persuading her that he was kept away 
by that extreme affection for herself which he could not con- 
ceal when they were together. 

The important Tuesday came that was to introduce the two 
young ladies to this formidable mother-in-law. 

1 Pity me, dear Miss Dashwood ! ; said Lucy, as they 
walked up the stairs together — for the Middletons arrived so 
directly after Mrs. Jennings that they all followed the servant 
at the same time : — £ there is nobody here but you that can 
feel for me. I declare I can hardly stand. Good gracious ! 
In a moment I shall see the person that all my happiness 
depends on — that is to be my mother ! ' 

Elinor could have given her immediate relief by suggesting 
the possibility of its being Miss Morton's mother rather than 
her own whom they were about to behold ; but instead of 
doing that, she assured her, and with great sincerity, that she 
did pity her, — to the utter amazement of Lucy, who, though 
really uncomfortable herself, hoped at least to be an object of 
irrepressible envy to Elinor. 

Mrs. Ferrars was a little, thin woman, upright, even to 


formality, in her figure, and serious, even to sourness, in her 
aspect. Her complexion was sallow, and her features small, 
without beauty, and naturally without expression ; but a lucky 
contraction of the brow had rescued her countenance from the 
disgrace of insipidity, by giving it the strong characters of 
pride and ill-nature. She was not a woman of many words ; 
for, unlike people in general, she proportioned them to the 
number of her ideas ; and of the few syllables that did escape 
her, not one fell to the share of Miss Dashwood, whom she 
eyed with the spirited determination of disliking her at all 

Elinor could not now be made unhappy by this behaviour. 
A few months ago it would have hurt her exceedingly ; but it 
was not in Mrs. Ferrars's power to distress her by it now ; and 
the difference of her manners to the Miss Steeles, a difference 
which seemed purposely made to humble her more, only 
amused her. She could not but smile to see the graciousness 
of both mother and daughter towards the very person — for 
Lucy was particularly distinguished — whom of all others, had 
they known as much as she did, they would have been most 
anxious to mortify ; while she herself, who had comparatively 
no power to wound them, sat pointedly slighted by both. 
But while she smiled at a graciousness so misapplied, she could 
not reflect on the mean-spirited folly from which it sprang, 
nor observe the studied attentions with which the Miss Steeles 
courted its continuance, without thoroughly despising them all 

Lucy was all exultation on being so honourably distin- 
guished ; and Miss Steele wanted only to be teased about Dr. 
Davies to be perfectly happy. 

The dinner was a grand one, the servants were numerous, 
and everything bespoke the mistress's inclination for show, 
and the master's ability to support it. In spite of the improve- 
ments and additions which were making to the Norland Estate, 
and in spite of its owner having once been within some 
thousand pounds of being obliged to sell out at a loss, nothing 
gave any symptom of that indigence which he had tried to 
infer from it ; no poverty of any kind, except of conversation, 
appeared ; but there the deficiency was considerable. John 
Dashwood had not much to say for himself that was worth 
hearing, and his wife had still less. But there was no peculiar 



disgrace in this ; for it was very much the case with the chief 
of their visitors, who almost all laboured under one or other 
of these disqualifications for being agreeable — want of sense, 
either natural or improved — want of elegance — want of spirits 
— or want of temper. 

When the ladies withdrew to the drawing-room after dinner, 
this poverty was particularly evident, for the gentlemen had 
supplied the discourse with some variety — the variety of 
politics, enclosing land, and breaking horses — but then it was 
all over ; and one subject only engaged the ladies till coffee 
came in, which was the comparative heights of Harry Dash- 
wood and Lady Middleton's second son William, who were 
nearly of the same age. 

Had both the children been there, the affair might have 
been determined too easily by measuring them at once ; but 
as Harry only was present, it was all conjectural assertion on 
both sides ; and everybody had a right to be equally positive 
in their opinion, and to repeat it over and over again as often 
as they liked. 

The parties stood thus : — 

The two mothers, though each really convinced that her 
own son was the tallest, politely decided in favour of the other. 
The two grandmothers, with not less partiality, but more 
sincerity, were equally earnest in support of their own de- 

Lucy, who was hardly less anxious to please one parent 
than the other, thought the boys were both remarkably tall 
for their age, and could not conceive that there could be the 
smallest difference in the world between them ; and Miss 
Steele, with yet greater address, gave it, as fast as she could, 
in favour of each. 

Elinor, having once delivered her opinion on William's side, 
by which she offended Mrs. Ferrars and Fanny still more, did 
not see the necessity of enforcing it by any further assertion, 
and Marianne, when called on for hers, offended them all by 
declaring that she had no opinion to give, as she had never 
thought about it. 

Before her removing from Norland, Elinor had painted a 
very pretty pair of screens for her sister-in-law, which being 
now just mounted and brought home, ornamented her present 
drawing-room ; and these screens, catching the eye of John 



Dashwood on his following the other gentlemen into the room, 
were officiously handed by him to Colonel Brandon for his 

'These are done by my eldest sister,' said he ; 'and you, 
as a man of taste, will, I daresay, be pleased with them. I 
do not know whether you ever happened to see any of her 
performances before, but she is in general reckoned to draw 
extremely well.' 

The Colonel, though disclaiming all pretensions to con- 
noisseurship, warmly admired the screens, as he would have 
done anything painted by Miss Dashwood ; and the curiosity 
of the others being of course excited, they were handed round 
for general inspection. Mrs. Ferrars, not aware of their being 
Elinor's work, particularly requested to look at them ; and 
after they had received the gratifying testimony of Lady 
Middleton's approbation, Fanny presented them to her mother, 
considerately informing her, at the same time, that they were 
done by Miss Dashwood. 

'Hum' — said Mrs. Ferrars — 'very pretty,' — and, without 
regarding them at all, returned them to her daughter. 

Perhaps Fanny thought for a moment that her mother had 
been quite rude enough ; for, colouring a little, she immedi- 
ately said — 

'They are very pretty, ma'am — an't they?' But then 
again the dread of having been too civil, too encouraging 
herself, probably came over her, for she presently added : ' Do 
you not think they are something in Miss Morton's style of 
painting, ma'am ? — She does paint most delightfully ! — How 
beautifully her last landscape is done ! ' 

' Beautifully indeed ! But she does everything well.' 

Marianne could not bear this. She was already greatly 
displeased with Mrs. Ferrars ; and such ill-timed praise of 
another, at Elinor's expense, though she had not any notion 
of what was principally meant by it, provoked her immediately 
to say, with warmth — 

' This is admiration of a very particular kind ! what is Miss 
Morton to us ? who knows, or who cares, for her ? — it is 
Elinor of whom we think and speak.' 

And so saying, she took the screens out of her sister-in-law's 
hands to admire them herself as they ought to be admired. 

Mrs. Ferrars looked exceedingly angry, and drawing her- 

Mrs. Ferrars. 


self up more stiffly than ever, pronounced, in retort, this bitter 
philippic, ' Miss Morton is Lord Morton's daughter.' 

Fanny looked very angry too, and her husband was all in 
a fright at his sister's audacity. Elinor was much more hurt 
by Marianne's warmth than she had been by what produced 
it ; but Colonel Brandon's eyes, as they were fixed on Mari- 
anne, declared that he noticed only what was amiable in it, 
the affectionate heart which could not bear to see a sister 
slighted in the smallest point. 

Marianne's feelings did not stop here. The cold insolence 
of Mrs. Ferrars's general behaviour to her sister seemed to 
her to foretell such difficulties and distresses to Elinor as her 
own wounded heart taught her to think of with horror ; and, 
urged by a strong impulse of affectionate sensibility, she 
moved, after a moment, to her sister's chair, and putting one 
arm round her neck, and one cheek close to hers, said in a 
low, but eager voice — 

' Dear, dear Elinor, don't mind them. Don't let them make 
you unhappy.' 

She could say no more : her spirits were quite overcome ; 
and hiding her face on Elinor's shoulder, she burst into tears. 
Everybody's attention was called, and almost everybody was 
concerned. Colonel Brandon rose up and went to them with- 
out knowing what he did. Mrs. Jennings, with a very intelli- 
gent l Ah ! poor dear,' immediately gave her her salts ; and 
Sir John felt so desperately enraged against the author of this 
nervous distress, that he instantly changed his seat to one 
close by Lucy Steele, and gave her in a whisper a brief 
account of the whole shocking affair. 

In a few minutes, however, Marianne was recovered enough 
to put an end to the bustle, and sit down among the rest, 
though her spirits retained the impression of what had passed 
the whole evening. 

1 Poor Marianne ! ' said her brother to Colonel Brandon in 
a low voice, as soon as he could secure his attention : * she has 
not such good health as her sister, — she is very nervous, — she 
has not Elinor's constitution ; — and one must allow that there is 
something very trying to a young woman who has been a beauty 
in the loss of her personal attractions. You would not think it, 
perhaps, but Marianne was remarkably handsome a few months 
ago ; quite as handsome as Elinor. Now you see it is all gone.' 




Elinor's curiosity to see Mrs. Ferrars was satisfied. She had 
found in her everything that could tend to make a further 
connection between the families undesirable. She had seen 
enough of her pride, her meanness, and her determined pre- 
judice against herself, to comprehend all the difficulties that 
must have perplexed the engagement and retarded the 
marriage of Edward and herself, had he been otherwise 
free ; and she had seen almost enough to be thankful, for 
her own sake, that one greater obstacle preserved her from 
suffering under any other of Mrs. Ferrars's creation, preserved 
her from all dependence upon her caprice, or any solicitude 
for her good opinion. Or at least, if she did not bring herself 
quite to rejoice in Edward's being fettered to Lucy, she deter- 
mined that, had Lucy been more amiable, she ought to have 

She wondered that Lucy's spirits could be so very much 
elevated by the civility of Mrs. Ferrars ; that her interest and 
her vanity should so very much blind her as to make the 
attention which seemed only paid her because she was not 
Elinor^ appear a compliment to herself, — or to allow her to 
derive encouragement from a preference only given her 
because her real situation was unknown. But that it was so 
had not only been declared by Lucy's eyes at the time, but 
was declared over again the next morning more openly ; for 
at her particular desire Lady Middleton set her down in 
Berkeley Street on the chance of seeing Elinor alone, to tell 
her how happy she was. 

The chance proved a lucky one ; for a message from Mrs. 
Palmer soon after she arrived carried Mrs. Jennings away. 

'My dear friend,' cried Lucy, as soon as they were by 
themselves, * I come to talk to you of my happiness. Could 
anything be so flattering as Mrs. Ferrars's way of treating me 
yesterday ? So exceeding affable as she was ! You know 
how I dreaded the thoughts of seeing her ; but the very 
moment I was introduced, there was such an affability in her 
behaviour as really should seem to say she had quite took a 
P 209 


fancy to me. Now was not it so ? You saw it all ; and was 
not you quite struck with it ? ' 

' She was certainly very civil to you.' 

* Civil ! — Did you see nothing but only civility ? — I saw a 
vast deal more. Such kindness as fell to the share of nobody 
but me ! — No pride, no hauteur, and your sister just the same 
— all sweetness and affability ! ' 

Elinor wished to talk of something else, but Lucy still 
pressed her to own that she had reason for her happiness ; 
and Elinor was obliged to go on. 

' Undoubtedly, if they had known your engagement,' said 
she, 'nothing could be more flattering than their treatment of 
you ; — but as that was not the case ' 

' I guessed you would say so,' replied Lucy quickly ; — 
' but there was no reason in the world why Mrs. Ferrars should 
seem to like me if she did not, and her liking me is every- 
thing. You shan't talk me out of my satisfaction. I am sure 
it will all end well, and there will be no difficulties at all, to 
what I used to think. Mrs. Ferrars is a charming woman, 
and so is your sister. They are both delightful women indeed ! 
— I wonder I should never hear you say how agreeable Mrs. 
Dashwood was ! ' 

To this Elinor had no answer to make, and did not 
attempt any. 

4 Are you ill, Miss Dashwood ? — you seem low — you don't 
speak ; — sure you an't well.' 

1 1 never was in better health.' 

* I am glad of it with all my heart ; but really you did not 
look it. I should be so sorry to have you ill ; you, that have 
been the greatest comfort to me in the world 1 — Heaven knows 
what I should have done without your friendship.' 

Elinor tried to make a civil answer, though doubting her 
own success. But it seemed to satisfy Lucy, for she directly 
replied — 

1 Indeed, I am perfectly convinced of your regard for me, 
and, next to Edward's love, it is the greatest comfort I have. 
Poor Edward ! But now there is one good thing, we shall be 
able to meet, and meet pretty often, for Lady Middleton's 
delighted with Mrs. Dashwood, so we shall be a good deal 
in Harley Street, I daresay, and Edward spends half his time 
with his sister — besides, Lady Middleton and Mrs. Ferrars 


will visit now ; — and Mrs. Ferrars and your sister were both 
so good to say, more than once, they should always be glad 
to see me. They are such charming women ! — I am sure if 
ever you tell your sister what I think of her, you cannot speak 
too high.' 

But Elinor would not give her any encouragement to hope 
that she should tell her sister. Lucy continued — 

* I am sure I should have seen it in a moment if Mrs. 
Ferrars had took a dislike to me. If she had only made me 
a formal courtesy, for instance, without saying a word, and 
never after had took any notice of me, and never looked at 
me in a pleasant way — you know what I mean — if I had been 
treated in that forbidding sort of way, I should have gave it 
all up in despair. I could not have stood it. For where she 
does dislike, I know it is most violent.' 

Elinor was prevented from making any reply to this civil 
triumph by the door's being thrown open, the servant's an- 
nouncing Mr, Ferrars, and Edward's immediately walking in. 

It was a very awkward moment ; and the countenance of 
each showed that it was so. They all looked exceedingly 
foolish ; and Edward seemed to have as great an inclination to 
walk out of the room again as to advance further into it. The 
very circumstance, in its unpleasantest form, which they would 
each have been most anxious to avoid, had fallen on them. 
They were not only all three together, but were together 
without the relief of any other person. The ladies recovered 
themselves first, it was not Lucy's business to put herself 
forward, and the appearance of secrecy must still be kept up. 
She could therefore only look her tenderness, and after slightly 
addressing him, said no more. 

But Elinor had more to do ; and so anxious was she, for 
his sake and her own, to do it well, that she forced herself, 
after a moment's recollection, to welcome him, with a look 
and manner that were almost easy, and almost open ; and 
another struggle, another effort, still improved them. She 
would not allow the presence of Lucy, nor the consciousness 
of some injustice towards herself, to deter her from saying that 
she was happy to see him, and that she had very much 
regretted being from home when he called before in Berkeley 
Street. She would not be frightened from paying him those 
attentions which, as a friend and almost a relation, were his 



due, by the observant eyes of Lucy, though she soon perceived 
them to be narrowly watching her. 

Her manners gave some reassurance to Edward, and he 
had courage enough to sit down ; but his embarrassment still 
exceeded that of the ladies in a proportion which the case 
rendered reasonable, though his sex might make it rare ; for 
his heart had not the indifference of Lucy's, nor could his 
conscience have quite the ease of Elinor's. 

Lucy, with a demure and settled air, seemed determined to 
make no contribution to the comfort of the others, and would 
not say a word ; and almost everything that was said proceeded 
from Elinor, who was obliged to volunteer all the information 
about her mother's health, their coming to town, etc., which 
Edward ought to have inquired about, but never did. 

Her exertions did not stop here ; for she soon afterwards 
felt herself so heroically disposed as to determine, under 
pretence of fetching Marianne, to leave the others by them- 
selves ; and she really did it, and that in the handsomest 
manner, for she loitered away several minutes on the landing- 
place, with the most high-minded fortitude, before she went to 
her sister. When that was once done, however, it was time 
for the raptures of Edward to cease ; for Marianne's joy 
hurried her into the drawing-room immediately. Her pleasure 
in seeing him was like every other of her feelings, strong in 
itself, and strongly spoken. She met him with a hand that would 
be taken, and a voice that expressed the affection of a sister. 

' Dear Edward ! ' she cried, * this is a moment of great 
happiness ! This would almost make amends for everything ! ' 

Edward tried to return her kindness as it deserved, but 
before such witnesses he dared not say half what he really felt. 
Again they all sat down, and for a moment or two all were 
silent ; while Marianne was looking with the most speaking 
tenderness, sometimes at Edward and sometimes at Elinor, 
regretting only that their delight in each other should be 
checked by Lucy's unwelcome presence. Edward was the 
first to speak, and it was to notice Marianne's altered looks, 
and express his fear of her not finding London agree with her. 

c Oh, don't think of me ! ' she replied with spirited earnest- 
ness, though her eyes were filled with tears as she spoke, 
'don't think of my health. Elinor is well, you see. That 
must be enough for us both.' 


This remark was not calculated to make Edward or Elinor 
more easy, nor to conciliate the good-will of Lucy, who looked 
up at Marianne with no very benignant expression. 

' Do you like London ? ' said Edward, willing to say any- 
thing that might introduce another subject. 

' Not at all. I expected much pleasure in it, but I have 
found none. The sight of you, Edward, is the only comfort 
it has afforded ; and, thank Heaven ! you are what you always 
were ! ' 

She paused — no one spoke. 

* I think, Elinor,' she presently added, ' we must employ 
Edward to take care of us in our return to Barton. In a 
week or two, I suppose, we shall be going ; and I trust 
Edward will not be very unwilling to accept the charge.' 

Poor Edward muttered something, but what it was nobody 
knew, not even himself. But Marianne, who saw his agitation, 
and could easily trace it to whatever cause best pleased herself, 
was perfectly satisfied, and soon talked of something else. 

( We spent such a day, Edward, in Harley Street yesterday ! 
So dull, so wretchedly dull ! But I have much to say to you 
on that head which cannot be said now.' 

And with this admirable discretion did she defer the assur- 
ance of her finding their mutual relatives more disagreeable 
than ever, and of her being particularly disgusted with his 
mother, till they were more in private. 

' But why were you not there, Edward ? Why did you not 
come ? ' 

6 1 was engaged elsewhere.' 

' Engaged ! But what was that, when such friends were to 
be met ? ' 

' Perhaps, Miss Marianne,' cried Lucy, eager to take some 
revenge on her, ' you think young men never stand upon 
engagements, if they have no mind to keep them, little as well 
as great.' 

Elinor was very angry, but Marianne seemed entirely in- 
sensible of the sting ; for she calmly replied — 

* Not so, indeed ; for, seriously speaking, I am very sure 
that conscience only kept Edward from Harley Street. And 
I really believe he has the most delicate conscience in the 
world ; the most scrupulous in performing every engagement, 
however minute, and however it may make against his interest 



or pleasure. He is the most fearful of giving pain, of wounding 
expectation, and the most incapable of being selfish, of any- 
body I ever saw. Edward, it is so, and I will say it. What ! 
are you never to hear yourself praised ?— - Then you must be 
no friend of mine ; for those who will accept of my love and 
esteem must submit to my open commendation.' 

The nature of her commendation in the present case, how- 
ever, happened to be particularly ill suited to the feeling of 
two-thirds of her auditors, and was so very unexhilarating to 
Edward, that he very soon got up to go away. 

' Going so soon ! ' said Marianne : ' my dear Edward, this 
must not be. 1 

And drawing him a little aside, she whispered her per- 
suasion that Lucy could not stay much longer. But even this 
encouragement failed, for he would go ; and Lucy, who would 
have outstayed him had his visit lasted two hours, soon after- 
wards went away. 

' What can bring her here so often ? ' said Marianne, on 
her leaving them. ' Could she not see that we wanted her 
gone ! — how teasing to Edward I ' 

' Why so ? we were all his friends, and Lucy has been the 
longest known to him of any. It is but natural that he should 
like to see her as well as ourselves.' 

Marianne looked at her steadily, and said, 'You know, 
Elinor, that this is a kind of talking which I cannot bear. If 
you only hope to have your assertion contradicted, as I must 
suppose to be the case, you ought to recollect that I am the 
last person in the world to do it. I cannot descend to be 
tricked out of assurances that are not really wanted.' 

She then left the room ; and Elinor dared not follow her to 
say more, for, bound as she was by her promise of secrecy to 
Lucy, she could give no information that would convince 
Marianne ; and, painful as the consequences of her still con- 
tinuing in an error might be, she was obliged to submit to it. 
All that she could hope was, that Edward would not often 
expose her or himself to the distress of hearing Marianne's 
mistaken warmth, nor to the repetition of any other part of the 
pain that had attended their recent meeting — and this she had 
every reason to expect. 


Drawing kiwi a little aside. 



Within a few days after this meeting, the newspapers an- 
nounced to the world that the lady of Thomas Palmer, Esq., 
was safely delivered of a son and heir ; a very interesting and 
satisfactory paragraph, at least to all those intimate connections 
who knew it before. 

This event, highly important to Mrs. Jennings's happiness, 
produced a temporary alteration in the disposal of her time, 
and influenced, in a like degree, the engagements of her young 
friends ; for as she wished to be as much as possible with 
Charlotte, she went thither every morning as soon as she was 
dressed, and did not return till late in the evening ; and the 
Miss Dashwoods, at the particular request of the Middletons, 
spent the whole of every day in Conduit Street. For their 
own comfort, they would much rather have remained, at least 
all the morning, in Mrs. Jennings's house ; but it was not a 
thing to be urged against the wishes of everybody. Their 
hours were therefore made over to Lady Middleton and the 
two Miss Steeles, by whom their company was, in fact, as little 
valued as it was professedly sought. 

They had too much sense to be desirable companions to 
the former; and by the latter they were considered with a 
jealous eye, as intruding on their ground, and sharing the 
kindness which they wanted to monopolise. Though nothing 
could be more polite than Lady Middleton's behaviour to 
Elinor and Marianne, she did not really like them at all. 
Because they neither flattered herself nor her children, she 
could not believe them good-natured ; and because they were 
fond of reading, she fancied them satirical, perhaps without 
exactly knowing what it was to be satirical ; but that did not 
signify. It was censure in common use, and easily given. 

Their presence was a restraint both on her and on Lucy. 
It checked the idleness of one, and the business of the other. 
Lady Middleton was ashamed of doing nothing before them, 
and the flattery which Lucy was proud to think of and ad- 
minister at other times she feared they would despise her for 
offering. Miss Steele was the least discomposed of the three 



by their presence ; and it was in their power to reconcile her 
to it entirely. Would either of them only have given her a 
full and minute account of the whole affair between Marianne 
and Mr. Willoughby she would have thought herself amply 
rewarded for the sacrifice of the best place by the fire after 
dinner, which their arrival occasioned. But this conciliation 
was not granted ; for though she often threw out expressions 
of pity for her sister to Elinor, and more than once dropt a 
reflection on the inconstancy of beaux before Marianne, no 
effect was produced, but a look of indifference from the former, 
or of disgust in the latter. An effort even yet lighter might 
have made her their friend : — would they only have laughed 
at her about the Doctor ! But so little were they, any more 
than the others, inclined to oblige her, that if Sir John dined 
from home she might spend a whole day without hearing any 
other raillery on the subject than what she was kind enough 
to bestow on herself. 

All these jealousies and discontents, however, were so 
totally unsuspected by Mrs. Jennings, that she thought it a 
delightful thing for the girls to be together ; and generally 
congratulated her young friends every night on having escaped 
the company of a stupid old woman so long. She joined 
them sometimes at Sir John's, and sometimes at her own house ; 
but wherever it was, she always came in excellent spirits, full 
of delight and importance, attributing Charlotte's well-doing to 
her own care, and ready to give so exact, so minute a detail 
of her situation, as only Miss Steele had curiosity enough to 
desire. One thing did disturb her ; and of that she made 
her daily complaint. Mr. Palmer maintained the common, but 
unfatherly opinion among his sex, of all infants being alike ; 
and though she could plainly perceive, at different times, the 
most striking resemblance between this baby and every one of 
his relations on both sides, there was no convincing his father 
of it ; no persuading him to believe that it was not exactly like 
every other baby of the same age ; nor could he even be 
brought to acknowledge the simple proposition of its being the 
finest child in the world. 

I come now to the relation of a misfortune which about this 
time befell Mrs. John Dashwood. It so happened that while 
her two sisters with Mrs. Jennings were first calling on her in 
Harley Street, another of her acquaintance had dropt in — a 



circumstance in itself not apparently likely to produce evil to 
her. But while the imaginations of other people will carry 
them away to form wrong judgments of our conduct, and to 
decide on it by slight appearances, one's happiness must in 
some measure be always at the mercy of chance. In the 
present instance, this last-arrived lady allowed her fancy so far 
to outrun truth and probability, that on merely hearing the 
name of the Miss Dash woods, and understanding them to be 
Mr. Dashwood's sisters, she immediately concluded them to 
be staying in Harley Street ; and this misconstruction produced, 
within a day or two afterwards, cards of invitation for them, 
as well as for their brother and sister, to a small musical party 
at her house ; the consequence of which was, that Mrs. John 
Dashwood was obliged to submit not only to the exceedingly 
great inconvenience of sending her carriage for the Miss Dash- 
woods, but, what was still worse, must be subject to all the 
unpleasantness of appearing to treat them with attention ; and 
who could tell that they might not expect to go out with her 
a second time ? The power of disappointing them, it was true, 
must always be hers. But that was not enough : for when 
people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know 
to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of anything 
better from them. 

Marianne had now been brought, by degrees, so much into 
the habit of going out every day, that it was become a matter 
of indifference to her whether she went or not ; and she 
prepared quietly and mechanically for every evening's engage- 
ment, though without expecting the smallest amusement from 
any, and very often without knowing, till the last moment, 
where it was to take her. 

To her dress and appearance she was grown so perfectly 
indifferent as not to bestow half the consideration on it, during 
the whole of her toilet, which it received from Miss Steele in 
the first five minutes of their being together, when it was 
finished. Nothing escaped her minute observation and general 
curiosity ; she saw everything, and asked everything ; was 
never easy till she knew the price of every part of Marianne's 
dress ; could have guessed the number of her gowns altogether 
with better judgment than Marianne herself; and was not 
without hopes of finding out, before they parted, how much 
her washing cost per week, and how much she had every year 



to spend upon herself. The impertinence of these kind of 
scrutinies, moreover, was generally concluded with a com- 
pliment, which, though meant as its douceur, was considered 
by Marianne as the greatest impertinence of all ; for after 
undergoing an examination into the value and make of her 
gown, the colour of her shoes, and the arrangement of her hair, 
she was almost sure of being told, that upon * her word she 
looked vastly smart, and she dared to say would make a great 
many conquests.' 

With such encouragement as this was she dismissed, on 
the present occasion, to her brother's carriage, which they 
were ready to enter five minutes after it stopped at the door, 
a punctuality not very agreeable to their sister-in-law, who 
had preceded them to the house of her acquaintance, and was 
there hoping for some delay on their part, that might incon- 
venience either herself or her coachman. 

The events of the evening were not very remarkable. The 
party, like other musical parties, comprehended a great many 
people who had real taste for the performance, and a great 
many more who had none at all ; and the performers them- 
selves were, as usual, in their own estimation, and that of their 
immediate friends, the first private performers in England. 

As Elinor was neither musical, nor affecting to be so, she 
made no scruple of turning away her eyes from the grand 
pianoforte whenever it suited her, and, unrestrained even by 
the presence of a harp and a violoncello, would fix them at 
pleasure on any other object in the room. In one of these 
excursive glances she perceived, among a group of young men, 
the very he who had given them a lecture on toothpick-cases 
at Gray's. She perceived him soon afterwards looking at 
herself, and speaking familiarly to her brother ; and had just 
determined to find out his name from the latter, when they 
both came towards her, and Mr. Dashwood introduced him to 
her as Mr. Robert Ferrars. 

He addressed her with easy civility, and twisted his head 
into a bow, which assured her, as plainly as words could have 
done, that he was exactly the coxcomb she had heard him 
described to be by Lucy. Happy had it been for her, if her 
regard for Edward had depended less on his own merit than 
on the merit of his nearest relations ! For then his brother's 
bow must have given the finishing stroke to what the 111- 



humour of his mother and sister would have begun. But 
while she wondered at the difference of the two young men, 
she did not find that the emptiness and conceit of the one put 
her at all out of charity with the modesty and worth of the 
other. Why they were different, Robert explained to her 
himself in the course of a quarter of an hour's conversation ; 
for, talking of his brother, and lamenting the extreme gaucherie 
which he really believed kept him from mixing in proper 
society, he candidly and generously attributed it much less to 
any natural deficiency than to the misfortune of a private 
education ; while he himself, though probably without any 
particular, any material superiority by nature, merely from the 
advantage of a public school, was as well fitted to mix in the 
world as any other man. 

1 Upon my soul,' he added, * I believe it is nothing more ; 
and so I often tell my mother when she is grieving about it. 
"My dear madam," I always say to her, "you must make 
yourself easy. The evil is now irremediable, and it has been 
entirely your own doing. Why would you be persuaded by 
my uncle, Sir Robert, against your own judgment, to place 
Edward under private tuition, at the most critical time of his 
life ? If you had only sent him to Westminster as well as 
myself, instead of sending him to Mr. Pratt's, all this would 
have been prevented." This is the way in which I always 
consider the matter, and my mother is perfectly convinced of 
her error.' 

Elinor would not oppose his opinion, because, whatever 
might be her general estimation of the advantage of a public 
school, she could not think of Edward's abode in Mr. Pratt's 
family with any satisfaction. 

( You reside in Devonshire, I think,' was his next observa- 
tion, ( in a cottage near Dawlish.' 

Elinor set him right as to its situation ; and it seemed 
rather surprising to him that anybody could live in Devonshire 
without living near Dawlish. He bestowed his hearty approba- 
tion, however, on their species of house. 

4 For my own part,' said he, c I am excessively fond of a 
cottage ; there is always so much comfort, so much elegance 
about them. And I protest, if I had any money to spare, 
I should buy a little land and build one myself, within a 
short distance of London, where I might drive myself down 


at any time, and collect a few friends about me, and be 
happy. I advise everybody who is going to build, to build 
a cottage. My friend Lord Courtland came to me the other 
day on purpose to ask my advice, and laid before me three 
different plans of Bonomi's. I was to decide on the best of them. 
" My dear Courtland," said I, immediately throwing them all 
into the fire, " do not adopt either of them, but by all means 
build a cottage." And that, I fancy, will be the end of it. 

* Some people imagine that there can be no accommoda- 
tions, no space in a cottage ; but this is all a mistake. I was 
last month at my friend Elliott's, near Dartford. Lady 
Elliott wished to give a dance. " But how can it be done ? " 
said she : " my dear Ferrars, do tell me how it is to be man- 
aged. There is not a room in this cottage that will hold ten 
couple ; and where . can the supper be ? " / immediately 
saw that there could be no difficulty in it, so I said, " My 
dear Lady Elliott, do not be uneasy. The dining-parlour will 
admit eighteen couple with ease ; card-tables may be placed 
in the drawing-room ; the library may be open for tea and 
other refreshments ; and let the supper be set out in the saloon." 
Lady Elliott was delighted with the thought We measured 
the dining-room, and found it would hold exactly eighteen 
couple, — and the affair was arranged precisely after my plan. 
So that, in fact, you see, if people do but know how to set 
about it, every comfort may be as well enjoyed in a cottage as 
in the most spacious dwelling.' 

Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the 
compliment of rational opposition. 

As John Dashwood had no more pleasure in music than 
his eldest sister, his mind was equally at liberty to fix on 
anything else ; and a thought struck him during the even- 
ing which he communicated to his wife, for her approbation, 
when they got home. The consideration of Mrs. Dennison's 
mistake, in supposing his sisters their guests, had suggested 
the propriety of their being really invited to become such, 
while Mrs. Jennings's engagements kept her from home. 
The expense would be nothing ; the inconvenience not more ; 
and it was altogether an attention which the delicacy of his 
conscience pointed out to be requisite to its complete en- 
franchisement from his promise to his father. Fanny was 
startled at the proposal. 



* I do not see how it can be done,' said she, c without 
affronting Lady Middleton, for they spend every day with her ; 
otherwise I should be exceedingly glad to do it. You know 
I am always ready to pay them any attention in my power, 
as my taking them out this evening shows. But they are 
Lady Middleton's visitors. How can I ask them away from 

Her husband, but with great humility, did not see the 
force of her objection. ' They had already spent a week in 
this manner in Conduit Street, and Lady Middleton could not 
be displeased at their giving the same number of days to such 
near relations.' 

Fanny paused a moment, and then, with fresh vigour, 
said — 

6 My love, I would ask them with all my heart, if it was in 
my power. But I had just settled within myself to ask the 
Miss Steeles to spend a few days with us. They are very 
well-behaved, good kind of girls ; and I think the attention 
is due to them, as their uncle did so very well by Edward. 
We can ask your sisters some other year, you know ; but 
the Miss Steeles may not be in town any more. I am sure 
you will like them ; indeed, you do like them, you know, very 
much already, and so does my mother ; and they are such 
favourites with Harry ! ' 

Mr. Dashwood was convinced. He saw the necessity of 
inviting the Miss Steeles immediately ; and his conscience 
was pacified by the resolution of inviting his sisters another 
year ; at the same time, however, slily suspecting that 
another year would make the invitation needless, by bringing 
Elinor to town as Colonel Brandon's wife, and Marianne as 
their visitor. 

Fanny, rejoicing in her escape, and proud of the ready 
wit that had procured it, wrote the next morning to Lucy, to 
request her company and her sister's, for some days, in 
Harley Street, as soon as Lady Middleton could spare them. 
This was enough to make Lucy really and reasonably happy. 
Mrs. Dashwood seemed actually working for her herself; 
cherishing all her hopes, and promoting all her views ! Such 
an opportunity of being with Edward and his family was, 
above all things, • the most material to her interest, and 
such an invitation the most gratifying to her feelings ! It 



was an advantage that could not be too gratefully acknow- 
ledged, nor too speedily made use of; and the visit to Lady 
Middleton, which had not before had any precise limits, was 
instantly discovered to have been always meant to end in two 
days' time. 

When the note was shown to Elinor, as it was within ten 
minutes after its arrival, it gave her, for the first time, some 
share in the expectations of Lucy ; for such a mark of un- 
common kindness, vouchsafed on so short an acquaintance, 
seemed to declare that the good-will towards her arose from 
something more than merely malice against herself; and might 
be brought, by time and address, to do everything that Lucy 
wished. Her flattery had already subdued the pride of Lady 
Middleton, and made an entry into the close heart of Mrs. John 
Dashwood ; and these were effects that laid open the proba- 
bility of greater. 

The Miss Steeles removed to Harley Street ; and all that 
reached Elinor of their influence there strengthened her ex- 
pectation of the event. Sir John, who called on them more 
than once, brought home such accounts of the favour they 
were in as must be universally striking. Mrs. Dashwood 
had never been so much pleased with any young women in her 
life as she was with them ; had given each of them a needle- 
book made by some emigrant ; called Lucy by her Christian 
name ; and did not know whether she should ever be able to 
part with them. 


Mrs. Palmer was so well at the end of a fortnight that her 
mother felt it no longer necessary to give up the whole of her 
time to her ; and, contenting herself with visiting her once or 
twice a day, returned from that period to her own home, and 
her own habits, in which she found the Miss Dashwoods very 
ready to reassume their former share. 

About the third or fourth morning after their being thus 
resettled in Berkeley Street, Mrs. Jennings, on returning from 
her ordinary visit to Mrs. Palmer, entered the drawing-room, 
where Elinor was sitting by herself, with an air of such hurrying 



importance as prepared her to hear something wonderful ; and 
giving her time only to form that idea, began directly to justify 
it by saying — 

i Lord ! my dear Miss Dashwood ! have you heard the 
news ? ' 

' No, ma'am. What is it ? ' 

' Something so strange ! But you shall hear it all. When 
I got to Mr. Palmer's, I found Charlotte quite in a fuss about 
the child. She was sure it was very ill — it cried, and fretted, 
and was all over pimples. So I looked at it directly, and, 
" Lord ! my dear," says I, "it is nothing in the world but the 
red gum " ; and nurse said just the same. But Charlotte, she 
would not be satisfied, so Mr. Donavan was sent for ; and 
luckily he happened to be just come in from Harley Street, so 
he stepped over directly, and as soon as ever he saw the child 
he said just as we did, that it was nothing in the world but the 
red gum, and then Charlotte was easy. And so, just as he 
was going away again, it came into my head, I am sure I do 
not know how I happened to think of it, but it came into my 
head to ask him if there was any news. So upon that he 
smirked, and simpered, and looked grave, and seemed to know 
something or other, and at last he said in a whisper, " For 
fear any unpleasant report should reach the young ladies under 
your care as to their sister's indisposition, I think it advisable 
to say that I believe there is no great reason for alarm ; I 
hope Mrs. Dashwood will do very well." ' 

'What! is Fanny ill?' 

1 That is exactly what I said, my dear. " Lord ! " says I, 
" is Mrs. Dashwood ill ? " So then it all came out ; and the 
long and the short of the matter, by all I can learn, seems to 
be this. Mr. Edward Ferrars, the very young man I used to 
joke with you about (but, however, as it turns out, I am 
monstrous glad there never was anything in it), Mr. Edward 
Ferrars, it seems, has been engaged above this twelvemonth 
to my cousin Lucy ! There's for you, my dear ! And not a 
creature knowing a syllable of the matter except Nancy ! 
Could you have believed such a thing possible ? There is no 
great wonder in their liking one another; but that matters 
should be brought so forward between them, and nobody 
suspect it ! That is strange ! I never happened to see them 
together, or I am sure I should have found it out directly. 


In a whisper. 


Well, and so this was kept a great secret, for fear of Mrs. 
Ferrars, and neither she nor your brother or sister suspected a 
word of the matter : till this very morning, poor Nancy, who, 
you know, is a well-meaning creature, but no conjurer, popt it 
all out. " Lord ! " thinks she to herself, " they are all so fond 
of Lucy, to be sure they will make no difficulty about it " ; and 
so away she went to your sister, who was sitting all alone at 
her carpet-work, little suspecting what was to come — for she 
had just been saying to your brother, only five minutes before, 
that she thought to make a match between Edward and some 
Lord's daughter or other, I forget who. So you may think 
what a blow it was to all her vanity and pride. She fell into 
violent hysterics immediately, with such screams as reached 
your brother's ears, as he was sitting in his own dressing-room 
downstairs, thinking about writing a letter to his steward in 
the country. So up he flew directly, and a terrible scene 
took place, for Lucy was come to them by that time, little 
dreaming what was going on. Poor soul ! I pity her. And I 
must say, I think she was used very hardly ; for your sister 
scolded like any fury, and soon drove her into a fainting fit. 
Nancy, she fell upon her knees, and cried bitterly ; and your 
brother, he walked about the room, and said he did not know 
what to do. Mrs. Dashwood declared they should not stay a 
minute longer in the house ; and your brother was forced to go 
down upon his knees, too, to persuade her to let them stay till 
they had packed up their clothes. Then she fell into hysterics 
again, and he was so frightened that he would send for Mr. 
Donavan, and Mr. Donavan found the house in all this uproar. 
The carriage was at the door ready to take my poor cousins 
away, and they were just stepping in as he came off; poor 
Lucy in such a condition, he says, she could hardly walk ; and 
Nancy, she was almost as bad. I declare, I have no patience 
with your sister ; and I hope, with all my heart, it will be a 
match in spite of her. Lord ! what a taking poor Mr. Edward 
will be in when he hears of it ! To have his love used so 
scornfully ! for they say he is monstrous fond of her, as well 
he may. I should not wonder, if he was to be in the greatest 
of a passion ! — and Mr. Donavan thinks just the same. He 
and I had a great deal of talk about it ; and the best of all is, 
that he is gone back again to Harley Street, that he may be 
within call when Mrs. Ferrars is told of it ; for she was sent 

226 . 


for as soon as ever my cousins left the house, for your sister 
was sure she would be in hysterics too ; and so she may, for 
what I care. I have no pity for either of them. I have no 
notion of people's making such a to-do about money and 
greatness. There is no reason on earth why Mr. Edward and 
Lucy should not marry ; for I am sure Mrs. Ferrars may afford 
to do very well by her son ; and though Lucy has next to 
nothing herself, she knows better than anybody how to make 
the most of everything ; and I daresay, if Mrs. Ferrars would 
only allow him five hundred a year, she would make as good 
an appearance with it as anybody else would with eight. 
Lord ! how snug they might live in such another cottage as 
yours — or a little bigger — with two maids and two men ; and 
I believe I could help them to a housemaid, for my Betty has 
a sister out of place that would fit them exactly.' 

Here Mrs. Jennings ceased ; and as Elinor had had time 
enough to collect her thoughts, she was able to give such an 
answer, and make such observations, as the subject might 
naturally be supposed to produce. Happy to find that she 
was not suspected of any extraordinary interest in it ; that 
Mrs. Jennings (as she had of late often hoped might be the 
case) had ceased to imagine her at all attached to Edward ; 
and happy, above all the rest, in the absence of Marianne, she 
felt very well able to speak of the affair without embarrassment, 
and to give her judgment, as she believed, with impartiality 
on the conduct of every one concerned in it. 

She could hardly determine what her own expectation of 
its event really was ; though she earnestly tried to drive away 
the notion of its being possible to end otherwise at last 
than in the marriage of Edward and Lucy. What Mrs. 
Ferrars would say and do, though there could not be a doubt 
of its nature, she was anxious to hear ; and still more anxious 
to know how Edward would conduct himself. For him she 
felt much compassion \ — for Lucy very little — and it cost her 
some pains to procure that little ; — for the rest of the party 
'none at all. 

As Mrs. Jennings could talk on no other subject, Elinor 
soon saw the necessity of preparing Marianne for its discussion. 
No time was to be lost in undeceiving her, in making her 
acquainted with the real truth, and in endeavouring to bring 
her to hear it talked of by others, without betraying 'that she 



felt any uneasiness for her sister, or any resentment against 

Elinor's office was a painful one. She was going to 
remove what she really believed to be her sister's chief 
consolation, — to give such particulars of Edward as she feared 
would ruin him for ever in her good opinion, — and to make 
Marianne, by a resemblance in their situations, which to her 
fancy would seem strong, feel all her own disappointment 
over again. But, unwelcome as such a task must be, it was 
necessary to be done, and Elinor therefore hastened to per- 
form it. 

She was very far from wishing to dwell on her own feelings, 
or to represent herself as suffering much, any otherwise than 
as the self-command she had practised since her first know- 
ledge of Edward's engagement might suggest • a hint of what 
was practicable to Marianne. Her narration was clear and 
simple ; and though it could not be given without emotion, 
it was not accompanied by violent agitation, nor impetuous 
grief. That belonged rather to the hearer, for Marianne 
listened with horror, and cried excessively. Elinor was to be 
the comforter of others in her own distresses, no less than in 
theirs ; and all the comfort that could be given by assurances 
of her own composure of mind, and a very earnest vindication 
of Edward from every charge but of imprudence, was readily 

But Marianne for some time would give credit to neither. 
Edward seemed a second Willoughby ; and acknowledging as 
Elinor did that she had loved him most sincerely, could she 
feel less than herself ? As for Lucy Steele, she considered her 
so totally unamiable, so absolutely incapable of attaching a 
sensible man, that she could not be persuaded at first to 
believe, and afterwards to pardon, any former affection of 
Edward for her. She would not even admit it to have been 
natural ; and Elinor left her to be convinced that it was so by 
that which only could convince her, a better knowledge of 

Her first communication had reached no further than to 
state the fact of the engagement, and the length of time it had 
existed. Marianne's feelings had then broken in, and put an 
end to all regularity of detail ; and for some time all that could 
be done was to soothe her distress, lessen her alarms, and com- 



bat her resentment. The first question on her side which led 
to further particulars was — 

'How long has this been known to you, Elinor? has he 
written to you ? ' 

1 1 have known it these four months. When Lucy first 
came to Barton Park last November, she told me in confidence 
of her engagement.' 

At these words, Marianne's eyes expressed the astonish- 
ment which her lips could not utter. After a pause of wonder, 
she exclaimed — 

' Four months ! Have you known of this four months ? ' 

Elinor confirmed it. 

1 What ! while attending me in all my misery, has this been 
on your heart ? and I have reproached you for being happy ! ' 

* It was not fit that you should then know how much I was 
the reverse.' 

1 Four months ! ' cried Marianne again. * So calm ! so 
cheerful ! How have you been supported ? ' 

'By feeling that I was doing my duty. My promise to 
Lucy obliged me to be secret. I owed it to her, therefore, to 
avoid giving any hint of the truth ; and I owed it to my family 
and friends, not to create in them a solicitude about me which 
it could not be in my power to satisfy.' 

Marianne seemed much struck. 

' I have very often wished to undeceive yourself and my 
mother,' added Elinor ; ' and once or twice I have attempted 
it ; but without betraying my trust I never could have con- 
vinced you.' 

1 Four months ! and yet you loved him ! ' 

1 Yes. But I did not love only him ; and while the comfort 
of others was dear to me, I was glad to spare them from 
knowing how much I felt. Now, I can think and speak of it 
with little emotion. I would not have you suffer on my 
account ; for I assure you I no longer suffer materially myself. 
I have many things to support me. I am not conscious of 
having provoked the disappointment by any imprudence of my 
own, and I have borne it as much as possible without spread- 
ing it further. I acquit Edward of all essential misconduct. 
I wish him very happy ; and I am so sure of his always doing 
his duty, that though now he may harbour some regret, in the 
end he must become so. Lucy does not want sense ; and 



that is the foundation on which everything good may be built. 
And after all, Marianne, after all that is bewitching in the idea 
of a single and constant attachment, and all that can be said 
of one's happiness depending entirely on any particular person, 
it is not meant — it is not fit — it is not possible that it should 
be so. Edward will marry Lucy ; he will marry a woman 
superior in person and understanding to half her sex ; and 
time and habit will teach him to forget that he ever thought 
another superior to her? 

( If such is your way of thinking,' said Marianne, c if the 
loss of what is most valued is so easily to be made up by 
something else, your resolution, your self-command, are, per- 
haps, a little less to be wondered at. They are brought more 
within my comprehension.' 

£ I understand you. You do not suppose that I have ever 
felt much. For four months, Marianne, I have had all this 
hanging on my mind, without being at liberty to speak of it to 
a single creature ; knowing that it would make you and my 
mother most unhappy whenever it were explained to you, yet 
unable to prepare you for it in the least. It was told me, — it 
was in a manner forced on me by the very person herself, 
whose prior engagement ruined all my prospects ; and told 
me, as I thought, with triumph. This person's suspicions, 
therefore, I have had to oppose, by endeavouring to appear 
indifferent where I have been most deeply interested ; and it 
has not been only once ; I have had her hopes and exultation 
to listen to again and again. I have known myself to be 
divided from Edward for ever, without hearing one circum- 
stance that could make me less desire the connection. Nothing 
has proved him unworthy ; nor has anything declared him 
indifferent to me. I have had to contend against the unkind- 
ness of his sister, and the insolence of his mother ; and have 
suffered the punishment of an attachment, without enjoying its 
advantages. And all this has been going on at a time, when, 
as you too well know, it has not been my only unhappiness. 
If you can think me capable of ever feeling, surely you may 
suppose that I have suffered now. The composure of mind 
with which I have brought myself at present to consider the 
matter, the consolation that I have been willing to admit, have 
been the effect of constant and painful exertion ; they did not 
spring up of themselves; they did not occur to relieve my 



spirits at first. No, Marianne. Then, if I had not been 
bound to silence, perhaps nothing could have kept me entirely 
— not even what I owed to my dearest friends — from openly 
showing that I was very unhappy.' 

Marianne was quite subdued. 

'Oh, Elinor,' she cried, 'you have made me hate myself 
for ever. How barbarous have I been to you ! — you, who 
have been my only comfort, who have borne with me in all my 
misery, who have seemed to be only suffering for me ! Is 
this my gratitude? Is this the only return I can make you? 
Because your merit cries out upon myself, I have been trying 
to do it away. 5 

The tenderest caresses followed this confession. In such a 
frame of mind as she was now in, Elinor had no difficulty in 
obtaining from her whatever promise she required ; and, at 
her request, Marianne engaged never to speak of the affair to 
any one with the least appearance of bitterness ; to meet Lucy 
without betraying the smallest increase of dislike to her ; and 
even to see Edward himself, if chance should bring them to- 
gether, without any diminution of her usual cordiality. These 
were great concessions ; but where Marianne felt that she had 
injured, no reparation could be too much for her to make. 

She performed her promise of being discreet to admiration. 
She attended to all that Mrs. Jennings had to say upon the 
subject with an unchanging complexion, dissented from her in 
nothing, and was heard three times to say, ' Yes, ma'am.' She 
listened to her praise of Lucy with only moving from one chair 
to another ; and when Mrs. Jennings talked of Edward's affec- 
tion, it cost her only a spasm in her throat. Such advances 
towards heroism in her sister made Elinor feel equal to any- 
thing herself. 

The next morning brought a further trial of it, in a visit 
from their brother, who came with a most serious aspect to 
talk over the dreadful affair, and bring them news of his wife. 

' You have heard, I suppose, 5 said he, with great solemnity, 
as soon as he was seated, ' of the very shocking discovery that 
took place under our roof yesterday. 5 

They all looked their assent ; it seemed too awful a moment 
for speech. 

' Your sister,' he continued, ' has suffered dreadfully ; Mrs. 
Ferrars too — in short, it has been a scene of such complicated 


'You have heard, I suppose, ' 


distress — but I will hope that the storm may be weathered 
without our being any of us quite overcome. Poor Fanny ! 
she was in hysterics all yesterday. But I would not alarm 
you too much. Donavan says there is nothing materially to 
be apprehended; her constitution is a good one, and her 
resolution equal to anything. She has borne it all with the 
fortitude of an angel 1 She says she never shall think well of 
anybody again ; and one cannot wonder at it, after being so 
deceived ! — meeting with such ingratitude, where so much 
kindness had been shown, so much confidence had been 
placed ! It was quite out of the benevolence of her heart, 
that she had asked these young women to her house ; merely 
because she thought they deserved some attention, were harm- 
less, well-behaved girls, and would be pleasant companions ; 
for otherwise we both wished very much to have invited you 
and Marianne to be with us, while your kind friend there was 
attending her daughter. And now to be so rewarded 1 "I 
wish, with all my heart/' says poor Fanny, in her affectionate 
way, "that we had asked your sisters instead of them."' 

Here he stopped to be thanked, which being done, he went 

' What poor Mrs. Ferrars suffered, when first Fanny broke 
it to her, is not to be described. While she with the truest 
affection had been planning a most eligible connection for him, 
was it to be supposed that he could be all the time secretly 
engaged to another person? — such a suspicion could never 
have entered her head ! If she suspected any prepossession 
elsewhere, it could not be in that quarter. " There, to be 
sure," said she, " I might have thought myself safe." She 
was quite in an agony. We consulted together, however, as 
to what should be done, and at last she determined to send 
for Edward. He came. But I am sorry to relate what 
ensued. All that Mrs. Fjerrars could say to make him put an 
end to the engagement, assisted too, as you may well suppose, 
by my arguments and Fanny's entreaties, was of no avail. 
Duty, affection, everything was disregarded. I never thought 
Edward so stubborn, so unfeeling, before. His mother ex- 
plained to him her liberal designs, in case of his marrying 
Miss Morton ; told him she would settle on him the Norfolk 
estate, which, clear of land-tax, brings in a good thousand a 
year ; offered even, when matters grew desperate, to make it 



twelve hundred ; and in opposition to this, if he still persisted 
in this low connection, represented to him the certain penury 
that must attend the match. His own two thousand pounds 
she protested should be his all ; she would never see him 
again ; and so far would she be from affording him the 
smallest assistance, that if he were to enter into any profession 
with a view of better support, she would do all in her power to 
prevent his advancing in it.' 

Here Marianne, in an ecstasy of indignation, clapped her 
hands together, and cried, ' Gracious God ! can this be 
possible ? ' 

'Well may -you wonder, Marianne, 5 replied her brother, 'at 
the obstinacy which could resist such arguments as these. 
Your exclamation is very natural.' 

Marianne was going to retort, but she remembered her 
promises and forbore. 

'All this, however,' he continued, 'was urged in vain. 
Edward said very little ; but what he did say was in the most 
determined manner. Nothing should prevail on him to give 
up his engagement. He would stand to it, cost him what it 

'Then,' cried Mrs. Jennings with blunt sincerity, no longer 
able to be silent, ' he has acted like an honest man ! I beg 
your pardon, Mr. Dashwood, but if he had done otherwise, I 
should have thought him a rascal. I have some little concern 
in the business as well as yourself, for Lucy Steele is my 
cousin ; and I believe there is not a better kind of girl in the 
world, nor one who more deserves a good husband.' 

John Dashwood was greatly astonished ; but his nature was 
calm, not open to provocation ; and he never wished to offend 
anybody, especially anybody of good fortune. He therefore 
replied without any resentment — 

' I would by no means speak disrespectfully of any relation 
of yours, madam. Miss Lucy Steele is, I daresay, a very 
deserving young woman ; but in the present case, you know, 
the connection must be impossible. And to have entered into 
a secret engagement with a young man under her uncle's care, 
the son of a woman especially of such very large fortune as 
Mrs. Ferrars, is, perhaps, altogether a little extraordinary. 
In short, I do not mean to reflect upon the behaviour of any 
person whom you have a regard for, Mrs. Jennings. We 



all wish her extremely happy ; and Mrs. Ferrars's conduct 
throughout the whole has been such as every conscientious, 
good mother, in like circumstances, would adopt. It has been 
dignified and liberal. Edward has drawn his own lot, and I 
fear it will be a bad one.' 

Marianne sighed out her similar apprehension ; and 
Elinor's heart was wrung for the feelings of Edward, while 
braving his mother's threats for a woman who could not 
reward him. 

* Well, sir,' said Mrs. Jennings, * and how did it end ? ' 

1 1 am sorry to say, ma'am, in a most unhappy rupture : — 
Edward is dismissed for ever from his mother's notice. He 
left her house yesterday ; but where he is gone, or whether he 
is still in town, I do not know ; for we of course can make no 

* Poor young man ! and what is to become of him ? ' 

i What, indeed, ma'am I It is a melancholy consideration. 
Born to the prospect of such affluence ! I cannot conceive 
a situation more deplorable. The interest of two thousand 
pounds — how can a man live on it ! And when to that is 
added the recollection that he might, but for his own folly, 
within three months, have been in the receipt of two thousand 
five hundred a year (for Miss Morton has thirty thousand 
pounds), I cannot picture to myself a more wretched condition. 
We must all feel for him ; and the more so, because it is 
totally out of our power to assist him.' 

' Poor young man ! ' cried Mrs. Jennings, ' I am sure he 
should be very welcome to bed and board at my house ; and 
so I would tell him if I could see him. It is not fit that he 
should be living about at his own charge now, at lodgings and 

Elinor's heart thanked her for such kindness towards 
Edward, though she could not forbear smiling at the form of it. 

* If he would only have done as well by himself,' said John 
Dashwood, ' as all his friends were disposed to do by him, he 
might now have been in his proper situation, and would have 
wanted for nothing ; but as it is, it must be out of anybody's 
power to assist him. And there is one thing more prepar- 
ing against him, which must be worse than all, — his mother 
has determined, with a very natural kind of spirit, to settle 
that estate upon Robert immediately, which might have been 


Talking over the business. 


Edward's, on proper conditions. I left her this morning with 
her lawyer, talking over the business.' 

« Well ! ' said Mrs. Jennings, ' that is her revenge. Every- 
body has a way of their own. But I don't think mine would 
be to make one son independent because another had plagued 

Marianne got up and walked about the room. 

'Can anything be more galling to the spirit of a man,' 
continued John, * than to see his younger brother in possession 
of an estate which might have been his own ? Poor Edward ! 
I feel for him sincerely.' 

A few minutes more, spent in the same kind of effu- 
sion, concluded his visit ; and with repeated assurances to his 
sisters that he really believed there was no material danger 
in Fanny's indisposition, and that they need not therefore be 
very uneasy about it, he went away, leaving the three ladies 
unanimous in their sentiments on the present occasion, as far 
at least as it regarded Mrs. Ferrars's conduct, the Dashwoods', 
and Edward's. 

Marianne's indignation burst forth as soon as he quitted 
the room ; and as her vehemence made reserve impossible in 
Elinor, and unnecessary in Mrs. Jennings, they all joined in 
a very spirited critique upon the party. 


Mrs. Jennings was very warm in her praise of Edward's 
conduct, but only Elinor and Marianne understood its true 
merit. They only knew how little he had had to tempt him to 
be disobedient, and how small was the consolation, beyond 
the consciousness of doing right, that could remain to him 
in the loss of friends and fortune. Elinor gloried in his 
integrity ; and Marianne forgave all his offences in compassion 
for his punishment. But though confidence between them 
was, by this public discovery, restored to its proper state, it 
was not a subject on which either of them was fond of 
dwelling when alone. Elinor avoided it upon principle, as 
tending to fix still more upon her thoughts, by the too warm, 



too positive assurances of Marianne, that belief of Edward's 
continued affection for herself which she rather wished to do 
away ; and Marianne's courage soon failed her, in trying to 
converse upon a topic which always left her more dissatisfied 
with herself than ever, by the comparison it necessarily pro- 
duced between Elinor's conduct and her own. 

She felt all the force of that comparison, but' not as her 
sister had hoped, to urge her to exertion now ; she felt it 
with all the pain of continual self-reproach, regretted most 
bitterly that she had never exerted herself before ; but it 
brought only the torture of penitence, without the hope of 
amendment Her mind was so much weakened, that she 
still fancied present exertion impossible, and therefore it only 
dispirited her more. 

Nothing new was heard by them for a day or two after- 
wards of affairs in Harley Street or Bartlett's Buildings. But 
though so much of the matter was known to them already, 
that Mrs. Jennings might have had enough to do in spreading 
that knowledge further, without seeking after more, she had 
resolved from the first to pay a visit of comfort and inquiry 
to her cousins as soon as she could ; and nothing but the 
hindrance of more visitors than usual had prevented her going 
to them within that time. 

The third day succeeding their knowledge of the particulars 
was so fine, so beautiful a Sunday, as to draw many to Ken- 
sington Gardens, though it was only the second week in 
March. Mrs. Jennings and Elinor were of the number ; but 
Marianne, who knew that the Willoughbys were again in town, 
and had a constant dread of meeting them, chose rather to 
stay at home than venture into so public a place. 

An intimate acquaintance of Mrs. Jennings joined them 
soon after they entered the Gardens ; and Elinor was not 
sorry that by her continuing with them and engaging all Mrs. 
Jennings's conversation, she was herself left to quiet reflection. 
She saw nothing of the Willoughbys, nothing of Edward, and 
for some time nothing of anybody who could by any chance, 
whether grave or gay, be interesting to her. But at last she 
found herself, with some surprise, accosted by Miss Steele, 
who, though looking rather shy, expressed great satisfaction 
in meeting them ; and on receiving encouragement from the 
particular kindness of Mrs. Jennings, left her own party for a 



short time to join theirs. Mrs. Jennings immediately whispered 
to Elinor — 

' Get it all out of her, my dear. She will tell you anything, 
if you ask. You see I cannot leave Mrs. Clarke.' 

It was lucky, however, for Mrs. Jennings's curiosity, and 
Elinor's too, that she would tell anything without being asked ; 
for nothing would otherwise have been learnt. 

* I am so glad to meet you,' said Miss Steele, taking her 
familiarly by the arm — ' for I wanted to see you of all things 
in the world.' And then lowering her voice, ' I suppose Mrs. 
Jennings has heard all about it. Is she angry ? ' 

'Not at all, I believe, with you.' 

'That is a good thing. And Lady Middleton, is she 
angry ? ' 

' I cannot suppose it possible that she should.' 

( I am monstrous glad of it. Good gracious ! I have had 
such a time of it ! I never saw Lucy in such a rage in my life. 
She vowed at first she would never trim me up a new bonnet, 
nor do anything else for me again, so long as she lived ; but 
now she is quite come to, and we are as good friends as ever. 
Look, she made me this bow to my hat, and put in the feather 
last night. There now, you are going to laugh at me too. 
But why should not 1 wear pink ribands ? I do not care if it 
is the Doctor's favourite colour. I am sure, for my part, I 
should never have known he did like it better than any other 
colour if he had not happened to say so. My cousins have 
been so plaguing me ! I declare, sometimes I do not know 
which way to look before them.' 

She had wandered away to a subject on which Elinor had 
nothing to say, and therefore soon judged it expedient to find 
her way back again to the first. 

1 Well, but, Miss Dashwood,' speaking triumphantly, ' people 
may say what they choose about Mr. Ferrars's declaring he 
would not have Lucy, for it's no such thing, I can tell you ; 
and it's quite a shame for such ill-natured reports to be spread 
abroad. Whatever Lucy might think about it herself, you 
know, it was no business of other people to set it down for 

' I never heard anything of the kind hinted at before, I 
assure you,' said Elinor. 

' Oh, did not you ? But it was said, I know very well, 


' She put in thejeather last night.' 


and by more than one; for Miss Godby told Miss Sparks 
that nobody in their senses could expect Mr. Ferrars to give 
up a woman like Miss Morton, with thirty thousand pounds, 
to her fortune, for Lucy Steele, that had nothing at all ; and 
I had it from Miss Sparks myself. And besides that, my 
cousin Richard said himself that when it came to the point, 
he was afraid Mr. Ferrars would be off; and when Edward 
did not come near us for three days, I could not tell what 
to think myself; and I believe in my heart Lucy gave it up 
all for lost ; for we came away from your brother's Wednesday, 
and we saw nothing of him not all Thursday, Friday, and 
Saturday, and did not know what was become with him. 
Once Lucy thought to write to him, but then her spirit rose 
against that. However, this morning he came just as we came 
home from church ; and then it all came out, how he had 
been sent for Wednesday to Harley Street, and been talked 
to by his mother and all of them, and how he had declared 
before them all that he loved nobody but Lucy, and nobody 
but Lucy would he have. And how he had been so worried 
by what passed, that as soon as he had went away from his 
mother's house, he had got upon his horse, and rid into the 
country, somewhere or other ; and how he had stayed about 
at an inn all Thursday and Friday, on purpose to get the 
better of it. And after thinking it all over and over again, 
he said, it seemed to him as if, now he had no fortune, and 
no nothing at all, it would be quite unkind to keep her on to 
the engagement, because it must be for her loss, for he had 
nothing but two thousand pounds, and no hope of anything 
else ; and if he was to go into orders, as he had some 
thoughts, he could get nothing but a curacy ; and how was 
they to live upon that ? He could not bear to think of her 
doing no better, and so he begged, if she had the least mind 
for it, to put an end to the matter directly, and leave him 
to shift for himself. I heard him say all this as plain as 
could possibly be. And it was entirely for her sake, and 
upon her account, that he said a word about being off, and 
not upon his own. I will take my oath he never dropt a 
syllable of being tired of her, or of wishing to marry Miss 
Morton, or anything like it. But, to be sure, Lucy would 
not give ear to such kind of talking ; so she told him directly 
(with a great deal about sweet and love, you know, and all 
R 241 


that — Oh la ! one can't repeat such kind of things you know) 
— she told him directly, she had not the least mind in the 
world to be off, for she could live with him upon a trifle, and 
how little soever he might have, she should be very glad to 
have it all, you know, or something of the kind. So then he 
was monstrous happy, and talked on some time about what 
they should do, and they agreed he should take orders directly, 
and they must wait to be married till he got a living. And 
just then I could not hear any more, for my cousin called from 
below to tell me Mrs. Richardson was come in her coach, and 
would take one of us to Kensington Gardens ; so I was forced 
to go into the room and interrupt them, to ask Lucy if she 
would like to go, but she did not care to leave Edward ; so I 
just run upstairs and put on a pair of silk stockings, and came 
off with the Richardsons.' 

' I do not understand what you mean by interrupting them,' 
said Elinor ; ' you were all in the same room together, were 
not you ? ' 

' No, indeed, not us. La ! Miss Dashwood, do you think 
people make love when anybody else is by ? Oh for shame ! 
To be sure you must know better than that. (Laughing 
affectedly.) No, no ; they were shut up in the drawing-room 
together, and all I heard was only by listening at the door.' 

c How ! ' cried Elinor ; i have you been repeating to me 
what you only learnt yourself by listening at the door ? I am 
sorry I did not know it before ; for I certainly would not have 
suffered you to give me particulars of a conversation which 
you ought not to have known yourself. How could you behave 
so unfairly by your sister ? ' 

1 Oh la ! there is nothing in that. I only stood at the 
door and heard what I could. And I am sure Lucy would 
have done just the same by me ; for a year or two back, when 
Martha Sharpe and I had so many secrets together, she never 
made any bones of hiding in a closet, or behind a chimney- 
board, on purpose to hear what we said.' 

Elinor tried to talk of something else ; but Miss Steele 
could not be kept beyond a couple of minutes from what was 
uppermost in her mind. 

* Edward talks of going to Oxford soon,' said she ; ' but 
now he is lodging at No. — Pall Mall. What an ill-natured 
woman his mother is, an't she ? And your brother and sister 


Listening at the door* 


were not very kind ! However, I shan't say anything against 
them to you j and to be sure they did send us home in their 
own chariot, which was more than I looked for. And for my 
part, I was all in a fright for fear your sister should ask us for 
the huswifes she had gave us a day or two before ; but, how- 
ever, nothing was said about them, and I took care to keep 
mine out of sight. Edward have got some business at Oxford, 
he says ; so he must go there for a time ; and after that, as 
soon as he can light upon a bishop, he will be ordained. I 
wonder what curacy he will get ! Good gracious ! (giggling 
as she spoke) I'd lay my life I know what my cousins will say, 
when they hear of it. They will tell me I should write to the 
Doctor, to get Edward the curacy of his new living. I know 
they will ; but I am sure I would not do such a thing for all 
the world. " La ! " I shall say directly, " I wonder how you 
could think of such a thing. I write to the Doctor, indeed ! " ' 

1 Well,' said Elinor, ' it is a comfort to be prepared against 
the worst. You have got your answer ready.' 

Miss Steele was going to reply on the same subject, but 
the approach of her own party made another more necessary. 

* Oh la ! here come the Richardsons. I had a vast deal 
more to say to you, but I must not stay away from them not 
any longer. I assure you they are very genteel people. He 
makes a monstrous deal of money, and they keep their own 
coach. I have not time to speak to Mrs. Jennings about it 
myself, but pray tell her I am quite happy to hear she is not 
in anger against us, and Lady Middleton the same ; and if 
anything should happen to take you and your sister away, and 
Mrs. Jennings should want company, I am sure we should be 
very glad to come and stay with her for as long a time as she 
likes. I suppose Lady Middleton won't ask us any more this 
bout. Good-bye ; I am sorry Miss Marianne was not here. 
Remember me kindly to her. La ! if you have not got your 
spotted muslin on ! I wonder you was not afraid of its being 

Such was her parting concern ; for after this she had time 
only to pay her farewell compliments to Mrs. Jennings, before 
her company was claimed by Mrs. Richardson ; and Elinor 
was left in possession of knowledge which might feed her 
powers of reflection some time, though she had learnt very 
little more than what had been already foreseen and fore- 



planned in her own mind. Edward's marriage with Lucy was 
as firmly determined on, and the time of its taking place 
remained as absolutely uncertain, as she had concluded it 
would be : — everything depended, exactly after her expectation, 
on his getting that preferment, of which, at present, there 
seemed not the smallest chance. 

As soon as they returned to the carriage, Mrs. Jennings 
was eager for information ; but as Elinor wished to spread as 
little as possible intelligence that had in the first place been so 
unfairly obtained, she confined herself to the brief repetition of 
such simple particulars as she felt assured that Lucy, for the 
sake of her- own consequence, would choose to have known. 
The continuance of their engagement, and the means that 
were to be taken for promoting its end, was all her communi- 
cation ; and this produced from Mrs. Jennings the following 
natural remark : — 

' Wait for his having a living ! — ay, we all know how that 
will end : — they will wait a twelvemonth, and finding no good 
comes of it, will set down upon a curacy of fifty pounds a year, 
with the interest of his two thousand pounds, and what little 
matter Mr. Steele and Mr. Pratt can give her. Then they 
will have a child every year ! and, Lord help 'em ! how poor 
they will be ! I must see what I can give them towards furnish- 
ing their house. Two maids and two men, indeed ! as I 
talked of t'other day. No, no, they must get a stout girl of 
all works. Betty's sister would never do for them now.' 

The next morning brought Elinor a letter by the twopenny 
post from Lucy herself. It was as follows : — 

1 Bartlett's Buildings, March. 
* I hope my dear Miss Dashwood will excuse the liberty 
I take of writing to her ; but I know your friendship for me 
will make you pleased to hear such a good account of myself 
and my dear Edward, after all the troubles we have went 
through lately, therefore will make no more apologies, but 
proceed to say that, thank God ! though we have suffered 
dreadfully, we are both quite well now, and as happy as we 
must always be in one another's love.. We have had great 
trials, and great persecutions, but, however, at the same time, 
gratefully acknowledge many friends, yourself not the least 
among them, whose great kindness I shall always thankfully 

245 ■ 


remember, as will Edward too, who I have told of it. I am 
sure you will be glad to hear, as likewise dear Mrs. Jennings, 
I spent two happy hours with him yesterday afternoon ; he 
would not hear of our parting, though earnestly did I, as I 
thought my duty required, urge him to it for prudence sake, 
and would have parted for ever on the spot, would he consent 
to it ; but he said it should never be, he did not regard his 
mother's anger, while he could have my affections ; our 
prospects are not very bright, to be sure, but we must wait, 
and hope for the best ; he will be ordained shortly ; and should 
it ever be in your power to recommend him to anybody that 
has a living to bestow, am very sure you will not forget us ; 
and dear Mrs. Jennings too, trust she will speak a good word 
for us to Sir John, or Mr. Palmer, or any friend that may be 
able to assist us. — Poor Anne was much to blame for what 
she did, but she did it for the best, so I say nothing ; hope 
Mrs. Jennings won't think it too much trouble to give us a 
call, should she come this way any morning, 'twould be a 
great kindness, and my cousins would be proud to know her. 
— My paper reminds me to conclude ; and begging to be most 
gratefully and respectfully remembered to her, and to Sir John 
and Lady Middleton, and the dear children, when you chance 
to see them, and love to Miss Marianne, 

1 1 am, etc. etc.' 

As soon as Elinor had finished it, she performed what she 
concluded to be its writer's real design, by placing it in the 
hands of Mrs. Jennings, who read it aloud with many com- 
ments of satisfaction and praise. 

'Very well, indeed! — how prettily she writes! — ay, that 
was quite proper to let him be off if he would. That was just 
like Lucy. Poor soul ! I wish I could get him a living, with 
all my heart. She calls me dear Mrs. Jennings, you see. She 
is a good -hearted girl as ever lived. Very well, upon my 
word. That sentence is very prettily turned. Yes, yes, I will 
go and see her, sure enough. How attentive she is, to think 
of everybody ! — Thank you, my dear, for showing it me. It 
is as pretty a letter as ever I saw, and does Lucy's head and 
heart great credit.' 




The Miss Dash woods had now been rather more than two 
months in town, and Marianne's impatience to be gone in- 
creased every day. She sighed for the air, the liberty, the 
quiet of the country ; and fancied, that if any place could give 
her ease, Barton must do it. Elinor was hardly less anxious 
than herself for their removal, and only so much less bent on 
its being effected immediately, as that she was conscious of 
the difficulties of so long a journey, which Marianne could not 
be brought to acknowledge. She began, however, seriously to 
turn her thoughts towards its accomplishment ; and had 
already mentioned their wishes to their kind hostess, who 
resisted them with all the eloquence of her goodwill, when a 
plan was suggested, which, though detaining them from home 
yet a few weeks longer, appeared to Elinor altogether much 
more eligible than any other. The Palmers were to remove 
to Cleveland about the end of March for the Easter holidays ; 
and Mrs. Jennings, with both her friends, received a very 
warm invitation from Charlotte to go with them. This would 
not, in itself, have been sufficient for the delicacy of Miss 
Dashwood ; but it was enforced with so much real politeness 
by Mr. Palmer himself, as, joined to the very great amendment 
of his manners towards them since her sister had been known 
to be unhappy, induced her to accept it with pleasure. 

When she told Marianne what she had done, however, her 
first reply was not very auspicious. 

' Cleveland ! ' she cried, with great agitation. * No, I can- 
not go to Cleveland.' 

'You forget,' said Elinor gently, 'that its situation is not 
— that it is not in the neighbourhood of ' 

'But it is in Somersetshire. I cannot go into Somerset- 
shire. There, where I looked forward to going ; — no, Elinor, 
you cannot expect me to go there.' 

Elinor would not argue upon the propriety of overcoming 
such feelings ; she only endeavoured to counteract them by 
working on others ; and represented it, therefore, as a measure 
which would fix the time of her returning to that dear mother 



whom she so much wished to see, in a more eligible, more 
comfortable manner, than any other plan could do, and 
perhaps without any greater delay. From Cleveland, which 
was within a few miles of Bristol, the distance to Barton was 
not beyond one day, though a long day's journey ; and their 
mother's servant might easily come there to attend them down ; 
and as there could be no occasion for their staying above a 
week at Cleveland, they might now be at home in little more 
than three weeks' time. As Marianne's affection for her 
mother was sincere, it must triumph, with little difficulty, over 
the imaginary evils she had started. 

Mrs. Jennings was so far from being weary of her guests, 
that she pressed them very earnestly to return with her again 
from Cleveland. Elinor was grateful for the attention, but it 
could not alter their design ; and their mother's concurrence 
being readily gained, everything relative to their return was 
arranged as far as it could be ; and Marianne found some 
relief in drawing up a statement of the hours that were yet 
to divide her from Barton. 

1 Ah ! Colonel, I do not know what you and I shall do 
without the Miss Dashwoods,' was Mrs. Jennings's address 
to him when he first called on her after their leaving her was 
settled ; { for they are quite resolved upon going home from 
the Palmers ; and how forlorn we shall be when I come 
back ! Lord ! we shall sit and gape at one another as dull 
as two cats.' 

Perhaps Mrs. Jennings was in hopes, by this vigorous 
sketch of their future ennui, to provoke him to make that 
offer which might give himself an escape from it ; and if so, 
she had soon afterwards good reason to think her object 
gained ; for, on Elinor's moving to the window to take more 
expeditiously the dimensions of a print, which she was going 
to copy for her friend, he followed her to it with a look of 
particular meaning, and conversed with her there for several 
minutes. The effect of his discourse on the lady, too, could 
not escape her observation ; for though she was too honourable 
to listen, and had even changed her seat, on purpose that she 
might not hear, to one close by the pianoforte on which Mari- 
anne was playing, she could not keep herself from seeing that 
Elinor changed colour, attended with agitation, and was too 
intent on what he said to pursue her employment. Still further 



in confirmation of her hopes, in the interval of Marianne's turn- 
ing from one lesson to another, some words of the Colonel's 
inevitably reached her ear, in which he seemed to be apologis- 
ing for the badness of his house. This set the matter beyond 
a doubt. She wondered, indeed, at his thinking it necessary 
to do so ; but supposed it to be the proper etiquette. What 
Elinor said in reply she could not distinguish, but judged, from 
the motion of her lips, that she did not think that any material 
objection ; and Mrs. Jennings commended her in her heart 
for being so honest. They then talked on for a few minutes 
longer without her catching a syllable, when another lucky 
stop in Marianne's performance brought her these words in 
the Colonel's calm voice — 

i I am afraid it cannot take place very soon.' 

Astonished and shocked at so unlover-like a speech, she 
was almost ready to cry out, * Lord ! what should hinder it ? ' 
but, checking her desire, confined herself to this silent ejacu- 
lation — 

£ This is very strange ! — sure he need not wait to be older.' 

This delay on the Colonel's side, however, did not seem 
to offend or mortify his fair companion in the least ; for on 
their breaking up the conference soon afterwards, and moving 
different ways, Mrs. Jennings very plainly heard Elinor say, and 
with a voice which showed her to feel what she said — 

* I shall always think myself very much obliged to you.' 

Mrs. Jennings was delighted with her gratitude, and only 
wondered that, after hearing such a sentence, the Colonel 
should be able to take leave of them, as he immediately did, 
with the utmost sang-froid^ and go away without making her 
any reply ! She had not thought her old friend could have 
made so indifferent a suitor. 

What had really passed between them was to this effect. 

*I have heard,' said he, with great compassion, 'of the 
injustice your friend Mr. Ferrars has suffered from his family ; 
for, if I understand the matter right, he has been entirely cast 
off by them for persevering in his engagement with a very 
deserving young woman. Have I been rightly informed ? Is 
it so ? ' 

Elinor told him that it was. 

'The cruelty, the impolitic cruelty,' he replied, with great 
feeling, £ of dividing, or attempting to divide, two young people 



long attached to each other, is terrible. Mrs. Ferrars does 
not know what she may be doing — what she may drive her 
son to. I have seen Mr. Ferrars two or three times in Harley 
Street, and am much pleased with him. He is not a young 
man with whom one can be intimately acquainted in a short 
time, but I have seen enough of him to wish him well for his 
own sake, and as a friend of yours, I wish it still more. I 
understand that he intends to take orders. Will you be so 
good as to tell him that the living of Delaford, now just 
vacant, as I am informed by this day's post, is his, if he think 
it worth his acceptance ? but that, perhaps, so unfortunately 
circumstanced as he is now, it may be nonsense to appear to 
doubt ; I only wish it were more valuable. It is a rectory, 
but a small one ; the late incumbent, I believe, did not make 
more than ^200 per annum ; and though it is certainly capable 
of improvement, I fear not to such an amount as to afford 
him a very comfortable income. Such as it is, however, my 
pleasure in presenting him to it will be very great. Pray 
assure him of it.' 

Elinor's astonishment at this commission could hardly have 
been greater had the Colonel been really making her an offer 
of his hand. The preferment, which only two days before she 
had considered as hopeless for Edward, was already provided 
to enable him to marry ; and she, of all people in the world, 
was fixed on to bestow it ! Her emotion was such as Mrs. 
Jennings had attributed to a very different cause ; but whatever 
minor feelings less pure, less pleasing, might have a share in 
that emotion, her esteem for the general benevolence, and her 
gratitude for the particular friendship, which together prompted 
Colonel Brandon to this act, were strongly felt, and warmly 
expressed. She thanked him for it with all her heart, spoke 
of Edward's principles and disposition with that praise which 
she knew them to deserve ; and promised to undertake the 
commission with pleasure, if it were really his wish to put off 
so agreeable an office to another. But at the same time she 
could not help thinking that no one could so well perform it as 
himself. It was an office, in short, from which, unwilling to 
give Edward the pain of receiving an obligation from her, she 
would have been very glad to be spared herself; but Colonel 
Brandon, on motives of equal delicacy, declining it likewise, 
still seemed so desirous of its being given through her means, 



that she would not, on any account, make further opposition. 
Edward, she believed, was still in town, and fortunately she 
had heard his address from Miss Steele. She could undertake 
therefore to inform him of it in the course of the day. After 
this had been settled, Colonel Brandon began to talk of his 
own advantage in securing so respectable and agreeable a 
neighbour, and then it was that he mentioned, with regret, 
that the house was small and indifferent ; an evil which Elinor, 
as Mrs. Jennings had supposed her to do, made very light of, 
at least as far as regarded its size. 

£ The smallness of the house,' said she, ' I cannot imagine 
any inconvenience to them ; for it will be in proportion to 
their family and income.' 

By which the Colonel was surprised to find that she was 
considering Mr. Ferrars's marriage as the certain consequence 
of the presentation ; for he did not suppose it possible that 
Delaford living could supply such an income as anybody in 
his style of life would venture to settle on, and he said so. 

' This little rectory can do no more than make Mr. Ferrars 
comfortable as a bachelor ; it cannot enable him to marry. I 
am sorry to say that my patronage ends with this ; and my 
interest is hardly more extensive. If, however, by an unfore- 
seen chance it should be in my power to serve him further, I 
must think very differently of him from what I now do, if I am 
not as ready to be useful to him then as I sincerely wish I 
could be at present. What I am now doing, indeed, seems 
nothing at all, since it can advance him so little towards what 
must be his principal, his only, object of happiness. His 
marriage must still be a distant good ; at least, I am afraid it 
cannot take place very soon.' 

Such was the sentence which, when misunderstood, so justly 
offended the delicate feelings of Mrs. Jennings ; but, after this 
narration of what really passed between Colonel Brandon and 
Elinor, while they stood at the window, the gratitude expressed 
by the latter on their parting may perhaps appear, in general, not 
less reasonably excited, nor less properly worded, than if it had 
arisen from an offer of marriage. 




•Well, Miss Dashwood,' said Mrs. Jennings, sagaciously 
smiling, as soon as the gentleman had withdrawn, ' I do not 
ask you what the Colonel has been saying to you ; for though, 
upon my honour, I tried to keep out of hearing, I could not 
help catching enough to understand his business ; and I assure 
you I never was better pleased in my life, and I wish you joy 
of it with all my heart.' 

* Thank you, ma'am, 3 said Elinor. £ It is a matter of great 
joy to me, and I feel the goodness of Colonel Brandon most 
sensibly. There are not many men who would act as he has 
done. Few people who have so compassionate a heart I I 
never was more astonished in my life.' 

* Lord ! my dear, you are very modest. I an't the least 
astonished at it in the world ; for I have often thought, of late, 
there was nothing more likely to happen.' 

4 You judged from your knowledge of the Colonel's general 
benevolence ; but at least you could not foresee that the oppor- 
tunity would so very soon occur.' 

* Opportunity ! ? repeated Mrs. Jennings. * Oh, as to that, 
when a man has once made up his mind to such a thing, 
somehow or other he will soon find an opportunity. Well, my 
dear, I wish you joy of it again and again ; and if ever there 
was a happy couple in the world, I think I shall soon know 
where to look for them.' 

6 You mean to go to Delaford after them, I suppose,' said 
Elinor, with a faint smile. 

* Ay, my dear, that I do, indeed ; and as to the house 
being a bad one, I do not know what the Colonel would be at, 
for it is as good a one as ever I saw.' 

4 He spoke of its being out of repair.' 

4 Well, and whose fault is that ? Why don't he repair it ? 
Who should do it but himself?' 

They were interrupted by the servant's coming in to 
announce the carriage being at the door ; and Mrs. Jennings, 
immediately preparing to go, said — 

4 Well, my dear, I must be gone before I have had half 


my talk out. But, however, we may have it all over in the 
evening ; for we shall be quite alone. I do not ask you to 
go with me, for I daresay your mind is too full of the matter 
to care for company; and, besides, you must long to tell your 
sister all about it.' 

Marianne had left the room before the conversation began. 

* Certainly, ma'am, I shall tell Marianne of it ; but I shall 
not mention it at present to anybody else. 5 

'Oh, very well,' said Mrs. Jennings, rather disappointed. 
' Then you would not have me tell it Lucy ; for I think of going 
as far as Holborn to-day.' 

'No, ma'am, not even Lucy, if you please. One day's 
delay will not be very material ; and, till I have written to Mr. 
Ferrars, I think it ought not to be mentioned to anybody else. 
I shall do that directly. It is of importance that no time 
should be lost with him ; for he will of course have much to do 
relative to his ordination.' 

This speech at first puzzled Mrs. Jennings exceedingly. 
Why Mr. Ferrars was to be written to about it in such a hurry 
she could not immediately comprehend. A few moments' 
reflection, however, produced a very happy idea, and she 
exclaimed — 

' Oh ho ! I understand you. Mr. Ferrars is to be the 
man. Well, so much the better for him. Ay, to be sure, he 
must be ordained in readiness ; and I am very glad to find 
things are so forward between you. But, my dear, is not this 
rather out of character ? Should not the Colonel write himself ? 
Sure, he is the proper person.' 

Elinor did not quite understand the beginning of Mrs. 
Jennings's speech, neither did she think it worth inquiring 
into ; and therefore only replied to its conclusion. 

'Colonel Brandon is so delicate a man, that he rather 
wished any one to announce his intentions to Mr. Ferrars than 

' And so you are forced to do it. Well, that is an odd 
kind of delicacy ! However, I will not disturb you (seeing her 
preparing to write). You know your own concerns best. So 
good-bye, my dear. I have not heard of anything to please 
me so well since Charlotte was brought to bed.* 

And away she went ; but returning again in a moment — 

' I have just been thinking of Betty's sister, my dear. I 



should be very glad to get her so good a mistress. But 
whether she would do for a lady's-maid, I am sure I can't tell. 
She is an excellent housemaid, and works very well at her 
needle. However, you will think of all that at your leisure.' 

c Certainly, ma'am,' replied Elinor, not hearing much of 
what she said, and more anxious to be alone than to be 
mistress of the subject. 

How she should begin — how she should express herself 
in her note to Edward — was now all her concern. The 
particular circumstances between them made a difficulty of 
that which to any other person would have been the easiest 
thing in the world ; but she equally feared to say too much or 
too little, and sat deliberating over her paper, with the pen in 
her hand, till broken in on by the entrance of Edward himself. 

He had met Mrs. Jennings at the door, in her way to the 
carriage, as he came to leave his farewell card ; and she, after 
apologising for not returning herself, had obliged him to enter, 
by saying that Miss Dashwood was above, and wanted to 
speak with him on very particular business. 

Elinor had just been congratulating herself, in the midst of 
her perplexity, that however difficult it might be to express 
herself properly by letter, it was at least preferable to giving 
the information by word of mouth, when her visitor entered, to 
force her upon this greatest exertion of all. Her astonishment 
and confusion were very great on his so sudden appearance. 
She had not seen him before since his engagement became 
public, and therefore not since his knowing her to be acquainted 
with it ; which, with the consciousness of what she had been 
thinking of, and what she had to tell him, made her feel 
particularly uncomfortable for some minutes. He, too, was 
much distressed ; and they sat down together in a most 
promising state of embarrassment. Whether he had asked her 
pardon for his intrusion on first coming into the room, he 
could not recollect ; but, determining to be on the safe side, 
he made his apology in form, as soon as he could say anything, 
after taking a chair. 

1 Mrs. Jennings told me,' said he, c that you wished to speak 
with me, at least I understood her so, — or I certainly should 
not have intruded on you in such a manner ; though, at the 
same time, I should have been extremely sorry to leave 
London without seeing you and your sister ; especially as it 



will most likely be some time — it is not probable that I should 
soon have the pleasure of meeting you again. I go to Oxford 

' You would not have gone, however, 5 said Elinor, recover- 
ing herself, and determined to get over what she so much 
dreaded as soon as possible, 'without receiving our good 
wishes, even if we had not been able to give them in person. 
Mrs. Jennings was quite right in what she said. I have some- 
thing of consequence to inform you of, which I was on the 
point of communicating by paper. I am charged with a most 
agreeable office (breathing rather faster than usual as she 
spoke). Colonel Brandon, who was here only ten minutes 
ago, has desired me to say that, understanding you mean to 
take orders, he has great pleasure in offering you the living 
of Delaford, now just vacant, and only wishes it were more 
valuable. Allow me to congratulate you on having so respect- 
able and well-judging a friend, and to join in his wish that the 
living — it is about two hundred a year — were much more 
considerable, and such as might better enable you to — as might 
be more than a temporary accommodation to yourself — such, 
in short, as might establish all your views of happiness.' 

What Edward felt, as he could not say it himself, it can- 
not be expected that any one else should say for him. He 
looked all the astonishment which such unexpected, such un- 
thought-of information could not fail of exciting ; but he said 
only these two words — 

' Colonel Brandon ! ' 

'Yes,' continued Elinor, gathering more resolution, as 
some of the worst was over ; l Colonel Brandon means it as 
a testimony of his concern for what has lately passed, — for 
the cruel situation in which the unjustifiable conduct of your 
family has placed you, — a concern which I am sure Marianne, 
myself, and all your friends, must share ; and, likewise, as 
a proof of his high esteem of your general character, and 
his particular approbation of your behaviour on the present 

' Colonel Brandon give me a living ! Can it be possible ? ' 
The unkindness of your own relations has made you 
astonished to find friendship anywhere.' 

' No,' replied he, with sudden consciousness, ' not to find it 
in you; for I cannot be ignorant that to you, to your goodness, 



I owe it all. I feel it— -I would express it if I could — but, as 
you well know, I am no orator.' 

* You are very much mistaken. I do assure you that you 
owe it entirely, at least almost entirely, to your own merit, 
and Colonel Brandon's discernment of it. I have had no 
hand in it. I did not even know, till I understood his design, 
that the living was vacant ; nor had it ever occurred to me 
that he might have had such a living in his gift. As a friend 
of mine, of my family, he may, perhaps, indeed I know he has, 
still greater pleasure in bestowing it ; "but, upon my word, you 
owe nothing to my solicitation.' 

Truth obliged her to acknowledge some small share in the 
action ; but she was at the same time so unwilling to appear 
as the benefactress of Edward, that she acknowledged it with 
hesitation ; which probably contributed to fix that suspicion in 
his mind which had recently entered it. For a short time he 
sat deep in thought, after Elinor had ceased to speak ; at last, 
and as if it were rather an effort, he said — 

' Colonel Brandon seems a man of great worth and re- 
spectability. I have always heard him spoken of as such, and 
your brother, I know, esteems him highly. He is undoubtedly 
a sensible man, and in his manners perfectly the gentleman.' 

* Indeed,' replied Elinor, ' I believe that you will find 
him, on further acquaintance, all that you have heard him 
to be ; and as you will be such very near neighbours (for 
I understand the parsonage is almost close to the mansion- 
house), it is particularly important that he should be all 

Edward made no answer ; but when she had turned away 
her head, gave her a look so serious, so earnest, so uncheerful, 
as seemed to say that he might hereafter wish the distance 
between the parsonage and the mansion-house much greater. 

' Colonel Brandon, I think, lodges in St. James's Street,' 
said he, soon afterwards, rising from his chair. 

Elinor told him the number of the house. 

* I must hurry away, then, to give him those thanks which 
you will not allow me to give youj to assure him that he has 
made me a very — an exceedingly happy man.' 

Elinor did not offer to detain him ; and they parted, with 
a very earnest assurance on her side of her unceasing good 
wishes for his happiness in every change of situation that 



might befall him ; on his, with rather an attempt to return the 
same goodwill, than the power of expressing it. 

' When I see him again,' said Elinor to herself, as the door 
shut him out, * I shall see him the husband of Lucy.' 

And with this pleasing anticipation she sat down to recon- 
sider the past, recall the words, and endeavour to comprehend 
all the feelings of Edward ; and, of course, to reflect on her 
own with discontent. 

When Mrs. Jennings came home, though she returned from 
seeing people whom she had never seen before, and of whom, 
therefore, she must have a great deal to say, her mind was so 
much more occupied by the important secret in her possession, 
than by anything else, that she reverted to it again as soon as 
Elinor appeared. 

' Well, my dear, 5 she cried, * I sent you up the young man. 
Did not I do right ? And I suppose you had no great diffi- 
culty — you did not find him very unwilling to accept your 
proposal ? ' 

' No, ma'am ; that was not very likely.' 

1 Well, and how soon will he be ready ? For it seems all 
to depend upon that' 

* Really,' said Elinor, * I know so little of these kind of forms, 
that I can hardly even conjecture as to the time, or the pre- 
paration necessary ; but I suppose two or three months will 
complete his ordination.' 

* Two or three months ! ' cried Mrs. Jennings ; * Lord ! my 
dear, how calmly you talk of it ; and can the Colonel wait two 
or three months ? Lord bless me ! I am sure it would put 
me quite out of patience ! And though one would be very 
glad to do a kindness by poor Mr. Ferrars, I do think it is 
not worth while to wait two or three months for him. Sure, 
somebody else might be found that would do as well ; some- 
body that is in orders already.' 

* My dear ma'am,' said Elinor, ( what can you be thinking 
of? Why, Colonel Brandon's only object is to be of use to 
Mr. Ferrars.' 

4 Lord bless you, my dear ! Sure you do not mean to per- 
suade me that the Colonel only marries you for the sake of 
giving ten guineas to Mr. Ferrars ! ' 

The deception could not continue after this ; and an ex- 
planation immediately took place, by which both gained con- 

S 257 

Both gained considerable amusement. 


siderable amusement for the moment, without any material loss 
of happiness to either ; for Mrs. Jennings only exchanged one 
form of delight for another, and still without forfeiting her ex- 
pectation of the first. 

' Ay, ay, the parsonage is but a small one,' said she, after 
the first ebullition of surprise and satisfaction was over, 'and 
very likely may be out of repair ; but to hear a man apologis- 
ing, as I thought, for a house that to my knowledge has five 
sitting-rooms on the ground-floor, and I think the house- 
keeper told me could make up fifteen beds ! and to you, too, 
that had been used to live in Barton Cottage ! It seemed quite 
ridiculous. But, my dear, we must touch up the Colonel to 
do something to the parsonage, and make it comfortable for 
them, before Lucy goes to it.' 

' But Colonel Brandon does not seem to have any idea of 
the living's being enough to allow them to marry.' 

'The Colonel is a ninny, my dear; because he has two 
thousand a year himself, he thinks that nobody else can 
marry on less. Take my word for it, that, if I am alive, I 
shall be paying a visit at Delaford Parsonage before Michael- 
mas ; and I am sure I shan't go if Lucy an't there.' 

Elinor was quite of her opinion as to the probability of their 
not waiting for anything more. 


Edward, having carried his thanks to Colonel Brandon, 
proceeded with his happiness to Lucy ; and such was the 
excess of it by the time he reached Bartlett's Buildings, that 
she was able to assure Mrs. Jennings, who called on her 
again the next day with her congratulations, that she had 
never seen him in such spirits before in her life. 

Her own happiness, and her own spirits, were at least very 
certain ; and she joined Mrs. Jennings most heartily in her 
expectation of their being all comfortably together in Dela- 
ford Parsonage before Michaelmas. So far was she, at the 
same time, from any backwardness to give Elinor that credit 



which Edward would give her, that she spoke of her friendship 
for them both with the most grateful warmth, was ready to 
own all their obligation to her, and openly declared that no 
exertion for their good on Miss Dashwood's part, either 
present or future, would ever surprise her, for she believed her 
capable of doing anything in the world for those she really 
valued. As for Colonel Brandon, she was not only ready to 
worship him as a saint, but was, moreover, truly anxious that he 
should be treated as one in all worldly concerns ; anxious that 
his tithes should be raised to the utmost ; and secretly resolved 
to avail herself, at Delaford, as far as she possibly could, of 
his servants, his carriage, his cows, and his poultry. 

It was now above a week since John Dash wood had 
called in Berkeley Street, and as since that time no notice 
had been taken by them of his wife's indisposition, beyond 
one verbal inquiry, Elinor began to feel it necessary to pay 
her a visit. This was an obligation, however, which not only 
opposed her own inclination, but which had not the assistance 
of any encouragement from her companions. Marianne, not 
contented with absolutely refusing to go herself, was very 
urgent to prevent her sister's going at all ; and Mrs. Jennings, 
though her carriage was always at Elinor's service, so very 
much disliked Mrs. John Dashwood, that not even her 
curiosity to see how she looked after the late discovery, nor 
her strong desire to affront her by taking Edward's part, could 
overcome her unwillingness to be in her company again. The 
consequence was, that Elinor set out by herself to pay a visit, 
for which no one could really have less inclination, and to run 
the risk of a tete-a-tete with a woman whom neither of the 
others had so much reason to dislike. 

Mrs. Dashwood was denied ; but before the carriage could 
turn from the house, her husband accidentally came out. He 
expressed great pleasure in meeting Elinor, told her that he had 
been just going to call in Berkeley Street, and assuring her that 
Fanny would be very glad to see her, invited her to come in. 

They walked upstairs into the drawing-room. Nobody was 

' Fanny is in her own room, I suppose,' said he ; ' I will 
go to her presently, for I am sure she will not have the least 
objection in the world to seeing you. Very far from it, 
indeed. Now especially there cannot be — but, however, you 



and Marianne were always great favourites. Why would not 
Marianne come ? ' 

Elinor made what excuse she could for her. 

' I am not sorry to see you alone,' he replied, c for I have a 
good deal to say to you. This living of Colonel Brandon's — 
can it be true ? has he really given it to Edward ? I heard it 
yesterday by chance, and was coming to you on purpose to 
inquire further about it.' 

c It is perfectly true. Colonel Brandon has given the living 
of Delaford to Edward.' 

* Really ! Well, this is very astonishing ! — no relationship ! 
— no connection between them ! — and now that livings fetch 
such a price ! — what was the value of this ? J 

c About two hundred a year.' 

<Very well — and for the next presentation to a living of 
that value — supposing the late incumbent to have been old 
and sickly, and likely to vacate it soon — he might have got, 
I dare say — fourteen hundred pounds. And how came he 
not to have settled that matter before this person's death ? 
Now, indeed, it would be too late to sell it, but a man of 
Colonel Brandon's sense ! I wonder he should be so impro- 
vident in a point of such common, such natural, concern ! 
Well, I am convinced that there is a vast deal of incon- 
sistency in almost every human character. I suppose, however 
— on recollection — that the case may probably be this. 
Edward is only to hold the living till the person to whom the 
Colonel has really sold the presentation is old enough to take 
it. Ay, ay, that is the fact, depend upon it.' 

Elinor contradicted it, however, very positively; and by 
relating that she had herself been employed in conveying the 
offer from Colonel Brandon to Edward, and therefore must 
understand the terms on which it was given, obliged him to 
submit to her authority. 

c It is truly astonishing ! ' he cried, after hearing what she 
said ; * what could be the Colonel's motive ? ' 

1 A very simple one, — to be of use to Mr. Ferrars.' 

' Well, well ; whatever Colonel Brandon may be, Edward 
is a very lucky man. You will not mention the matter to 
Fanny, however ; for though I have broke it to her, and she 
bears it vastly well, she will not like to hear it much talked of.' 

Elinor had some difficulty here to refrain from observing 


that she thought Fanny might have borne with composure an 
acquisition of wealth to her brother, by which neither she nor 
her child could be possibly impoverished. 

' Mrs. Ferrars,' added he, lowering his voice to the tone 
becoming so important a subject, * knows nothing about it at 
present ; and I believe it will be best to keep it entirely con- 
cealed from her as long as may be. When the marriage takes 
place, I fear, she must hear of it all.' 

* But why should such precaution be used ? Though it is 
not to be supposed that Mrs. Ferrars can have the smallest 
satisfaction in knowing that her son has money enough to 
live upon, for that must be quite out of the question ; yet why, 
after her late behaviour, is she supposed to feel at all ? She 
has done with her son, — she has cast him off for ever, and 
has made all those over whom she had any influence cast him 
off likewise. Surely, after doing so, she cannot be imagined 
liable to any impression of sorrow or of joy on his account ; 
she cannot be interested in anything that befalls him. She 
would not be so weak as to throw away the comfort of a child, 
and yet retain the anxiety of a parent ! ' 

' Ah ! Elinor,' said John, * your reasoning is very good ; but 
it is founded on ignorance of human nature. When Edward's 
unhappy match takes place, depend upon it, his mother will 
feel as much as if she had never discarded him ; and therefore 
every circumstance that may accelerate that dreadful event must 
be concealed from her as much as possible. Mrs. Ferrars 
can never forget that Edward is her son.' 

* You surprise me ; I should think it must nearly have 
escaped her memory by this time.' 

4 You wrong her exceedingly. Mrs. Ferrars is one of the 
most affectionate mothers in the world.' 
Elinor was silent. 

* We think now] said Mr. Dashwood, after a short pause, 
* of Roberts marrying Miss Morton.' 

Elinor, smiling at the grave and decisive importance of her 
brother's tone, calmly replied — 

1 The lady, I suppose, has no choice in the affair.' 

* Choice ! how do you mean ? ' 

* I only mean that I suppose, from your manner of speak- 
ing, it must be the same to Miss Morton whether she marry 
Edward or Robert.' 



' Certainly, there can be no difference ; for Robert will 
now, to all intents and purposes, be considered as the eldest 
son ; and, as to anything else, they are both very agreeable 
young men : I do not know that one is superior to the other.' 

Elinor said no more, and John was also for a short time 
silent. His reflections ended thus : — 

* Of one thing, my dear sister,' kindly taking her hand and 
speaking in an awful whisper, £ I may assure you ; and I will 
do it, because I know it must gratify you. I have good 
reason to think — indeed I have it from the best authority, or I 
should not repeat it ; for otherwise it would be very wrong to 
say anything about it, — but I have it from the very best 
authority, — not that I ever precisely heard Mrs. Ferrars say it 
herself, but her daughter did, and I have it from her, — that, in 
short, whatever objections there might be against a certain — 
a certain connection, you understand me, — it would have been 
far preferable to her, — it would not have given her half the 
vexation that this does. I was exceedingly pleased to hear 
that Mrs. Ferrars considered it in that light ; a very gratifying 
circumstance, you know, to us all. " It would have been 
beyond comparison," she said, " the least evil of the two ; and 
she would be glad to compound now for nothing worse." But, 
however, all that is quite out of the question, — not to be 
thought of, or mentioned. As to any attachment, you know, 
it never could be ; all that is gone by. But I thought I would 
just tell you of this, because I knew how much it must please 
you. Not that you have any reason to regret, my dear Elinor ; 
there is no doubt of your doing exceedingly well, — quite as 
well, or better, perhaps, all things considered. Has Colonel 
Brandon been with you lately ? ' 

Elinor had heard enough, if not to gratify her vanity and 
raise her self-importance, to agitate her nerves and fill her 
mind ; and she was therefore glad to be spared from the 
necessity of saying much in reply herself, and from the danger 
of hearing anything more from her brother, by the entrance 
of Mr. Robert Ferrars. After a few moments' chat, John 
Dashwood, recollecting that Fanny was yet uninformed of his 
sister's being there, quitted the room in quest of her ; and 
Elinor was left to improve her acquaintance with Robert, who, 
by the gay unconcern, the happy self-complacency of his 
manner, while enjoying so unfair a division of his mother's 


' Qf one thing I may assure you. 1 


love and liberality, to the prejudice of his banished brother, 
earned only by his own dissipated course of life and that 
brother's integrity, was confirming her most unfavourable 
opinion of his head and heart. 

They had scarcely been two minutes by themselves before 
he began to speak of Edward ; for he, too, had heard of the 
living, and was very inquisitive on the subject. Elinor 
repeated the particulars of it, as she had given them to John ; 
and their effect on Robert, though very different, was not less 
striking than it had been on him. He laughed most immoder- 
ately. The idea of Edward's being a clergyman, and living in 
a small parsonage-house, diverted him beyond measure ; and 
when to that was added the fanciful imagery of Edward read- 
ing prayers in a white surplice, and publishing the banns of 
marriage between John Smith and Mary Brown, he could con- 
ceive nothing more ridiculous. 

Elinor, while she waited in silence and immovable gravity 
the conclusion of such folly, could not restrain her eyes from 
being fixed on him with a look that spoke all the contempt it 
excited. It was a look, however, very well bestowed ; for it 
relieved her own feelings, and gave no intelligence to him. 
He was recalled from wit to wisdom, not by any reproof of 
hers, but by his own sensibility. 

* We may treat it as a joke/ said he, at last, recovering 
from the affected laugh which had considerably lengthened out 
the genuine gaiety of the moment ; * but, upon my soul, it is a 
most serious business. Poor Edward ! he is ruined for ever. 
I am extremely sorry for it ; for I know him to be a very 
good-hearted creature, — as well-meaning a fellow, perhaps, as 
any in the world. You must not judge of him, Miss Dashwood, 
from your slight acquaintance. Poor Edward ! His manners 
are certainly not the happiest in nature. But we are not all 
born, you know, with the same powers, — the same address. 
Poor fellow ! to see him in a circle of strangers ! To be sure, 
it was pitiable enough ; but, upon my soul, I believe he has as 
good a heart as any in the kingdom ; and I declare and pro- 
test to you, I never was so shocked in my life as when it all 
burst forth. I could not believe it. My mother was the first 
person who told me of it ; and I, feeling myself called on 
t to act with resolution, immediately said to her, — " My dear 
madam, I do not know what you may intend to do on the 



occasion ; but as for myself, I must say, that if Edward does 
marry this young woman, / never will see him again." That 
was what I said immediately. I was most uncommonly 
shocked, indeed. Poor Edward ! he has done for himself 
completely, — shut himself out for ever from all decent society ! 
But, as I directly said to my mother, I am not in the least 
surprised at it ; from his style of education, it was always to be 
expected. My poor mother was half frantic* 

* Have you ever seen the lady ? ' 

* Yes ; once, while she was staying in this house I happened 
to drop in for ten minutes ; and I saw quite enough of her ; 
the merest awkward country girl, without style, or elegance, 
and almost without beauty.. I remember her perfectly. Just 
the kind of girl I should suppose likely to captivate poor 
Edward. I offered immediately, as soon as my mother related 
the affair to me, to talk to him myself and dissuade him from 
the match ; but it was too late then^ I found, to do anything ; 
for, unluckily, I was not in the way at first, and knew nothing 
of it till after the breach had ''taken place, when it was not for 
me, you know, to interfere. But, had I been informed of it a 
few hours earlier, I think it is most probable that something 
might have been hit on. I certainly should have represented 
it to Edward in a very strong light. " My dear fellow," I 
should have said, " consider what you are doing. You are 
making a most disgraceful connection, and such a one as your 
family are unanimous in disapproving." I cannot help think- 
ing, in short, that means might have been found ; but now it 
is all too late. He must be starved, you know, that is certain ; 
absolutely starved.' 

He had just settled this point with great composure, when 
the entrance of Mrs. John Dashwood put an end to the subject. 
But though she never spoke of it out of her own family, Elinor 
could see its influence on her mind in the something like con- 
fusion of countenance with which she entered, and an attempt 
at cordiality in her behaviour to herself She even proceeded 
so far as to be concerned to find that Elinor and her sister 
were so soon to leave town, as she had hoped to see more of 
them ; an exertion in which her husband, who attended her 
into the room, and hung enamoured over her accents, seemed 
to distinguish everything that was most affectionate and 




ONE other short call in Harley Street, in which Elinor received 
her brother's congratulations on their travelling so far towards 
Barton without any expense, and on Colonel Brandon's being 
to follow them to Cleveland in a day or two, completed the 
intercourse of the brother and sisters in town ; and a faint 
invitation from Fanny, to come to Norland whenever it should 
happen to be in their way, which of all things was the most 
unlikely to occur, with a more warm, though less public, 
assurance, from John to Elinor, of the promptitude with which 
he should come to see her at Delaford, was all that foretold 
any meeting in the country. 

It amused her to observe that all her friends seemed 
determined to send her to Delaford ; a place in which, of all 
others, she would now least choose to visit, or wish to reside ; 
for not only was it considered as her future home by her 
brother and Mrs. Jennings, but even Lucy, when they parted, 
gave her a pressing invitation to visit her there. 

Very early in April, and tolerably early in the day, the two 
parties from Hanover Square and Berkeley Street set out from 
their respective homes, to meet, by appointment, on the road. 
For the convenience of Charlotte and her child, they were to 
be more than two days on their journey ; and Mr. Palmer, 
travelling more expeditiously with Colonel Brandon, was to 
join them at Cleveland soon after their arrival. 

Marianne, few as had been her hours of comfort in London, 
and eager as she had long been to quit it, could not, when 
it came to the point, bid adieu to the house in which she had 
for the last time enjoyed those hopes, and that confidence, 
in Willoughby, which were now extinguished for ever, without 
great pain. Nor could she leave the place in which Wil- 
loughby remained, busy in new engagements, and new schemes, 
in which she could have no share, without shedding many tears. 

Elinor's satisfaction, at the moment of removal, was more 
positive. She had no such object for her lingering thoughts 
to fix on; she left no creature behind, from whom it would 
give her a moment's regret to be divided for ever ; she was 



pleased to be free herself from the persecution of Lucy's friend- 
ship ; she was grateful for bringing her sister away unseen 
by Willoughby since his marriage ; and she looked forward 
with hope to what a few months of tranquillity at Barton might 
do towards restoring Marianne's peace of mind, and confirming 
her own. 

Their journey was safely performed. The second day 
brought them into the cherished, or the prohibited, county of 
Somerset ; for as such was it dwelt on by turns in Marianne's 
imagination ; and in the forenoon of the third they drove up to 

Cleveland was a spacious, modern-built house, situated on 
a sloping lawn. It had no park, but the pleasure-grounds 
were tolerably extensive ; and, like every other place of the 
same degree of importance, it had its open shrubbery, and 
closer wood walk ; a road of smooth gravel, winding round a 
plantation, led to the front ; the lawn was dotted over with 
timber ; the house itself was under the guardianship of the fir, 
the mountain-ash, and the acacia, and a thick screen of them 
all together, interspersed with tall Lombardy poplars, shut out 
the offices. 

Marianne entered the house with a heart swelling with 
emotion from the consciousness of being only eighty miles 
from Barton, and not thirty from Combe Magna ; and before 
she had been five minutes within its walls, while the others 
were busily helping Charlotte to show her child to the house- 
keeper, she quitted it again, stealing away through the winding 
shrubberies, now just beginning to be in beauty, to gain a 
distant eminence ; where, from its Grecian temple, her eye, 
wandering over a wide tract of country to the south-east, 
could fondly rest on the farthest ridge of hills on the horizon, 
and fancy that from their summits Combe Magna might be 

In such moments of precious, of invaluable misery, she 
rejoiced in tears of agony to be at Cleveland ; and as she 
returned by a different circuit to the house, feeling all the 
happy privilege of country liberty, of wandering from place to 
place in free and luxurious solitude, she resolved to spend 
almost every hour of every day, while she remained with the 
Palmers, in the indulgence of such solitary rambles. 

She returned just in time to join the others, as they quitted 

Showing her child to the housekeeper. 


the house, on an excursion through its more immediate 
premises ; and the rest of the morning was easily whiled away 
in lounging round the kitchen garden, examining the bloom 
upon its walls, and listening to the gardener's lamentations 
upon blights, — in dawdling through the greenhouse, where the 
loss of her favourite plants, unwarily exposed, and nipped by 
the lingering frost, raised the laughter of Charlotte, — and in 
visiting her poultry-yard, where, in the disappointed hopes of 
her dairymaid, by hens forsaking their nests, or being stolen 
by a fox, or in the rapid decease of a promising young brood, 
she found fresh sources of merriment. 

The morning was fine and dry, and Marianne, in her plan 
of employment abroad, had not calculated for any change of 
weather during their stay at Cleveland. With great surprise, 
therefore, did she find herself prevented, by a settled rain, 
from going out again after dinner. She had depended on a 
twilight walk to the Grecian temple, and perhaps all over the 
grounds, and an evening merely cold or damp would not have 
deterred her from it ; but a heavy and settled rain even she 
could not fancy dry or pleasant weather for walking. 

Their party was small, and the hours passed quietly away. 
Mrs. Palmer had her child, and Mrs. Jennings her carpet- 
work ; they talked of the friends they had left behind, 
arranged Lady Middleton's engagements, and wondered 
whether Mr. Palmer and Colonel Brandon would get farther 
than Reading that night. Elinor, however little concerned 
in it, joined in their discourse ; and Marianne, who had the 
knack of finding her way in every house to the library, how- 
ever it might be avoided by the family in general, soon pro- 
cured herself a book. 

Nothing was wanting on Mrs. Palmer's side that constant and 
friendly good-humour could do, to make them feel themselves 
welcome. The openness and heartiness of her manner more 
than atoned for that want of recollection and elegance which 
made her often deficient in the forms of politeness ; her kind- 
ness, recommended by so pretty a face, was engaging; her 
folly, though evident, was not disgusting, because it was not 
conceited ; and Elinor could have forgiven everything but 
her laugh. 

The two gentlemen arrived the next day to a very late 
dinner, affording a pleasant enlargement of the party, and a 


The gardener 's lamentations. 


very welcome variety to their conversation, which a long 
morning of the same continued rain had reduced very low. 

Elinor had seen so little of Mr. Palmer, and in that little 
had seen so much variety in his address to her sister and her- 
self, that she knew not what to expect to find him in his own 
family. She found him, however, perfectly the gentleman in 
his behaviour to all his visitors, and only occasionally rude to 
his wife and her mother ; she found him very capable of being 
a pleasant companion, and only prevented from being so 
always, by too great an aptitude to fancy himself as much 
superior to people in general, as he must feel himself to be 
to Mrs. Jennings and Charlotte. For the rest of his character 
and habits, they were marked, as far as Elinor could perceive, 
with no traits at all unusual in his sex and time of life. He 
was nice in his eating, uncertain in his hours ; fond of his 
child, though affecting to slight it ; and idled away the morn- 
ings at billiards, which ought to have been devoted to business. 
She liked him, however, upon the whole, much better than she 
had expected, and in her heart was not sorry that she could 
like him no more ; not sorry to be driven by the observation 
of his epicurism, his selfishness, and his conceit, to rest with 
complacency on the remembrance of Edward's generous temper, 
simple taste, and diffident feelings. 

Of Edward, or at least of some of his concerns, she now 
received intelligence from Colonel Brandon, who had been 
into Dorsetshire lately ; and who, treating her at once as the 
disinterested friend of Mr. Ferrars, and the kind confidant of 
himself, talked to her a great deal of the parsonage at Dela- 
ford, described its deficiencies, and told her what he meant to 
do himself towards removing them. His behaviour to her in 
this, as well as in every other particular, his open pleasure in 
meeting her after an absence of only ten days, his readiness to 
converse with her, and his deference for her opinion, might 
very well justify Mrs. Jennings's persuasion of his attachment, 
and would have been enough, perhaps, had not Elinor still, as 
from the first, believed Marianne his real favourite, to make 
her suspect it herself. But as it was, such a notion had 
scarcely ever entered her head, except by Mrs. Jennings's 
suggestion ; and she could not help believing herself the nicest 
observer of the two : she watched his eyes, while Mrs. Jennings 
thought only of his behaviour ; and while his looks of anxious 



solicitude on Marianne's feeling, in her head and throat, the 
beginning of a heavy cold, because unexpressed by words, 
entirely escaped the latter lady's observation, — she could dis- 
cover in them the quick feelings and needless alarm of a lover. 
Two delightful twilight walks on the third and fourth 
evenings of her being there, not merely on the dry gravel of 
the shrubbery, but all over the grounds, and especially in 
the most distant parts of them, where there was something 
more of wildness than in the rest, where the trees were the 
oldest, and the grass was the longest and wettest, had — 
assisted by the still greater imprudence of sitting in her wet 
shoes and stockings — given Marianne a cold so violent, as, 
though for a day or two trifled with or denied, would force 
itself by increasing ailments on the concern of everybody, and 
the notice of herself. Prescriptions poured in from all quarters, 
and, as usual, were all declined. Though heavy and feverish, 
with a pain in her limbs, a cough, and a sore throat, a good 
night's rest was to cure her entirely ; and it was with difficulty 
that Elinor prevailed on her, when she went to bed, to try one 
or two of the simplest of the remedies. 


Marianne got up the next morning at her usual time ; to 
every inquiry replied that she was better, and tried to prove 
herself so, by engaging in her accustomary employments. But 
a day spent in sitting shivering over the fire with a book in her 
hand, which she was unable to read, or in lying, weary and 
languid, on a sofa, did not speak much in favour of her amend- 
ment ; and when, at last, she went early to bed, more and 
more indisposed, Colonel Brandon was only astonished at her 
sister's composure, who, though attending and nursing her the 
whole, day, against Marianne's inclination, and forcing proper 
medicines on her at night, trusted, like Marianne, to the 
certainty and efficacy of sleep, and felt no real alarm. 

A very restless and feverish night, however, disappointed 
the expectation of both ; and when Marianne, after persisting 
in rising, confessed herself unable to sit up, and returned 
T 273 


voluntarily to her bed, Elinor was very ready to adopt Mrs. 
Jennings's advice, of sending for the Palmers' apothecary. 

He came, examined his patient, and though encouraging 
Miss Dash wood to expect that a very few days would restore 
her sister to health, yet, by pronouncing her disorder to have 
a putrid tendency, and allowing the word ' infection ' to pass 
his lips, gave instant alarm to Mrs. Palmer, on her baby's 
account. Mrs. Jennings, who had been inclined from the first 
to think Marianne's complaint more serious than Elinor, now 
looked very grave on Mr. Harris's report, and, confirming 
Charlotte's fears and caution, urged the necessity of her 
immediate removal with her infant ; and Mr. Palmer, though 
treating their apprehensions as idle, found the anxiety and 
importunity of his wife too great to be withstood. Her de- 
parture, therefore, was fixed on ; and, within an hour after Mr. 
Harris's arrival, she set off, with her little boy and his nurse, 
for the house of a near relation of Mr. Palmer's, who lived a 
few miles on the other side of Bath ; where her husband 
promised, at her earnest entreaty, to join her in a day or two ; 
and whither she was almost equally urgent with her mother to 
accompany her. Mrs. Jennings, however, with a kindness of 
heart which made Elinor really love her, declared her resolution 
of not stirring from Cleveland as long as Marianne remained 
ill, and of endeavouring, by her own attentive care, to supply 
to her the place of the mother she had taken her from ; and 
Elinor found her, on every occasion, a most willing and active 
helpmate, desirous to share in all her fatigues, and often, by 
her better experience in nursing, of material use. 

Poor Marianne, languid and low from the nature of her 
malady, and feeling herself universally ill, could no longer 
hope that to-morrow would find her recovered, and the idea of 
what to-morrow would have produced, but for this unlucky 
illness, made every ailment more severe ; for on that day they 
were to have begun their journey home ; and, attended the 
whole way by a servant of Mrs. Jennings, were to have taken 
their mother by surprise on the following forenoon. The little 
that she said was all in lamentation of this inevitable delay ; 
though Elinor tried to raise her spirits, and make her believe, 
as she then really believed herself, that it would be a very 
short one. 

The next day produced little or no alteration in the state of 


the patient ; she certainly was not better, and, except that 
there was no amendment, did not appear worse. Their party 
was now farther reduced ; for Mr. Palmer, though very 
unwilling to go, as well from real humanity and good nature 
as from a dislike of appearing to be frightened away by his 
wife, was persuaded at last, by Colonel Brandon, to perform 
his promise of following her ; and while he was preparing to 
go, Colonel Brandon himself, with a much greater' exertion, 
began to talk of going likewise. Here, however, the kindness 
of Mrs. Jennings interposed most acceptably ; for to send the 
Colonel away while his love was in so much uneasiness on her 
sister's account would be to deprive them both, she thought, of 
every comfort ; and, therefore, telling him at once that his 
stay at Cleveland was necessary to herself; that she should 
want him to play at piquet of an evening, while Miss Dashwood 
was above with her sister, etc., she urged him so strongly to 
remain, that he, who was gratifying the first wish of his own 
heart by a compliance, could not long even affect to demur ; 
especially as Mrs. Jennings's entreaty was warmly seconded by 
Mr. Palmer, who seemed to feel a relief to himself in leaving 
behind him a person so well able to assist or advise Miss 
Dashwood in any emergence. 

Marianne was, of course, kept in ignorance of all these 
arrangements. She knew not that she had been the means of 
sending the owners of Cleveland away, in about seven days 
from the time of their arrival. It gave her no surprise that 
she saw nothing of Mrs. Palmer ; and as it gave her likewise no 
concern, she never mentioned her name. 

Two days passed away from the time of Mr. Palmer's 
departure; and her situation continued, with little variation, 
the same. Mr. Harris, who attended her every day, still 
talked boldly of a speedy recovery ; and Miss Dashwood was 
equally sanguine ; but the expectation of the others was by no 
means so cheerful. Mrs. Jennings had determined, very early 
in the seizure, that Marianne would never get over it ; and 
Colonel Brandon, who was chiefly of use in listening to Mrs. 
Jennings's forebodings, was not in a state of mind to resist 
their influence. He tried to reason himself out of fears, which 
the different judgment of the apothecary seemed to render 
absurd ; but the many hours of each day in which he was left 
entirely alone were but too favourable for the admission of 



every melancholy idea ; and he could not expel from his mind 
the persuasion that he should see Marianne no more. 

On the morning of the third day, however, the gloomy 
anticipations of both were almost done away ; for when Mr. 
Harris arrived, he declared his patient materially better. Her 
pulse was much stronger, and every symptom more favourable 
than on the preceding visit. Elinor, confirmed in every 
pleasant hope, was all cheerfulness ; rejoicing that, in her 
letters to her mother, she had pursued her own judgment 
rather than her friend's, in making very light of the indisposi- 
tion which delayed them at Cleveland ; and almost fixing on 
the time when Marianne would be able to travel. 

But the day did not close so auspiciously as it began. 
Towards the evening Marianne became ill again, growing 
more heavy, restless, and uncomfortable than before. Her 
sister, however, still sanguine, was willing to attribute the 
change to nothing more than the fatigue of having sat up to 
have her bed made ; and carefully administering the cordials 
prescribed, saw her, with satisfaction, sink at last into a 
slumber, from which she expected the most beneficial effects. 
Her sleep, though not so quiet as Elinor wished to see it, 
lasted a considerable time ; and, anxious to observe the result 
of it herself, she resolved to sit with her during the whole of it. 
Mrs. Jennings, knowing nothing of any change in the patient, 
went unusually early to bed ; her maid, who was one of the 
principal nurses, was recreating herself in the housekeeper's 
room, and Elinor remained alone with Marianne. 

The repose of the latter became more and more disturbed ; 
and her sister, who watched, with unremitting attention, her 
continual change of posture, and heard the frequent but 
inarticulate sounds of complaint which passed her lips, was 
almost wishing to rouse her from so painful a slumber, when 
Marianne, suddenly awakened by some accidental noise in 
the house, started hastily up, and, with feverish wildness, cried 
out — 

1 Is mamma coming ? ' 

'Not yet,' replied the other, concealing her terror, and 
assisting Marianne to lie down again ; l but she will be here, 
I hope, before it is long. It is a great way, you know, from 
hence to Barton.' 

' But she must not go round by London,' cried Marianne, 


in the same hurried manner. i I shall never see her, if she 
goes by London.' 

Elinor perceived, with alarm, that she was not quite herself, 
and, while attempting to soothe her, eagerly felt her pulse. 
It was lower and quicker than ever. And Marianne still 
talking wildly of mamma, her alarm increased so rapidly, as to 
determine her on sending instantly for Mr. Harris, and 
despatching a messenger to Barton for her mother. To 
consult with Colonel Brandon on the best means of effecting 
the latter was a thought which immediately followed the 
resolution of its performance ; and as soon as she had rung up 
the maid to take her place by her sister, she hastened down 
to the drawing-room, where she knew he was generally to be 
found at a much later hour than the present. 

It was no time for hesitation. Her fears and her difficulties 
were immediately before him. Her fears, he had no courage, 
no confidence, to attempt the removal of; he listened to them 
in silent despondence ; but her difficulties were instantly 
obviated; for, with a readiness that seemed to speak the 
occasion and the service prearranged in his mind, he offered 
himself as the messenger who should fetch Mrs. Dashwood. 
Elinor made no resistance that was not " easily overcome. 
She thanked him with brief, though fervent gratitude; and 
while he went to hurry off his servant with a message to Mr. 
Harris, and an order for post-horses directly, she wrote a few 
lines to her mother. 

The comfort of such a friend at that moment as Colonel 
Brandon, — of such a companion for her mother, — how grate- 
fully was it felt ! a companion whose judgment would guide, 
whose attendance must relieve, and whose friendship might 
soothe her ! As far as the shock of such a summons could ho. 
lessened to her, his presence, his manners, his assistance would 
lessen it. 

He^ meanwhile, whatever he might feel, acted with all the 
firmness of a collected mind, made every necessary arrange- 
ment with the utmost despatch, and calculated with exactness 
the time in which she might look for his return. Not a 
moment was lost in delay of any kind. The horses arrived 
even before they were expected ; and Colonel Brandon, only 
pressing her hand with a look of solemnity and a few words 
spoken too low to reach her ear, hurried into the carriage. 



It was then about twelve o'clock, and she returned to her 
sister's apartment to wait for the arrival of the apothecary, 
and to watch by her the rest of the night. It was a night of 
almost equal suffering to both. Hour after hour passed 
away in sleepless pain and delirium on Marianne's side, and 
in the most cruel anxiety on Elinor's, before Mr. Harris 
appeared. Her apprehensions once raised paid by their 
excess for all her former security ; and the servant who sat up 
with her, for she would not allow Mrs. Jennings to be called, 
only tortured her more, by hints of what her mistress had 
always thought. 

Marianne's ideas were still, at intervals, fixed incoherently 
on her mother ; and whenever she mentioned her name it 
gave a pang to the heart of poor Elinor, who, reproaching 
herself for having trifled with so many days of illness, and 
wretched for some immediate relief, fancied that all relief might 
soon be in vain, that everything had been delayed too long, 
and pictured to herself her suffering mother arriving too late to 
see this darling child, or to see her rational. 

She was on the point of sending again for Mr. Harris, or 
if he could not come, for some other advice, when the former 
— but not till after five o'clock — arrived. His opinion, how- 
ever, made some little amends for his delay; for though 
acknowledging a very unexpected and unpleasant alteration in 
his patient, he would not allow the danger to be material, and 
talked of the relief which a fresh mode of treatment must 
procure, with a confidence which, in a lesser degree, was com- 
municated to Elinor. He promised to call again in the course 
of three or four hours ; and left both the patient and her 
anxious attendant more composed than he had found them. 

With strong concern, and with many reproaches for not 
being called to their aid, did Mrs. Jennings hear in the morning 
of what had passed. Her former apprehensions, now with 
greater reason restored, left her no doubt of the event ; and 
though trying to speak comfort to Elinor, her conviction of her 
sister's danger would not allow her to offer the comfort of hope. 
Her heart was really grieved. The rapid decay, the early 
death of a girl so young, so lovely, as Marianne, must have 
struck a less interested person with concern. On Mrs. Jen- 
nings's compassion she had other claims. She had been for 
three months her companion, was still under her care, and she 



was known to have been greatly injured, and long unhappy. 
The distress of her sister, too, particularly a favourite, was 
before her ; and as for their mother, when Mrs. Jennings con- 
sidered that Marianne might probably be to her what Charlotte 
was to herself, her sympathy in her sufferings was very sincere. 

Mr. Harris was punctual in his second visit ; but he came 
to be disappointed in his hopes of what the last would produce. 
His medicines had failed ; the fever was unabated ; and 
Marianne only more quiet — not more herself — remained in a 
heavy stupor. Elinor, catching all, and more than all, his 
fear in a moment, proposed to call in further advice. But he 
judged it unnecessary; he had still something more to try, 
some fresh application, of whose success he was almost as 
confident as the last ; and his visit concluded with encouraging 
assurances which reached the ear but could not enter the heart 
of Miss Dashwood. She was calm, except when she thought 
of her mother ; but she was almost hopeless ; and in this state 
she continued till noon, scarcely stirring from her sister's bed, 
her thoughts wandering from one image of grief, one suffering 
friend to another ; and her spirits oppressed to the utmost by 
the conversation of Mrs. Jennings, who scrupled not to attri- 
bute the severity and danger of this attack to the many weeks 
of previous indisposition which Marianne's disappointment had 
brought on. Elinor felt all the reasonableness of the idea, and 
it gave fresh misery to her reflections. 

About noon, however, she began — but with a caution — a 
dread of disappointment which for some time kept her silent 
even to her friend — to fancy, to hope, she could perceive a 
slight amendment in her sister's pulse ; she waited, watched, 
and examined it again and again ; and at last, with an agitation 
more difficult to bury under exterior calmness than all her fore- 
going distress, ventured to communicate her hopes. Mrs. 
Jennings, though forced, on examination, to acknowledge a 
temporary revival, tried to keep her young friend from indulg- 
ing a thought of its continuance ; and Elinor, conning over 
every injunction of distrust, told herself likewise not to hope. 
But it was too late. Hope had already entered ; and feeling 
all its anxious flutter, she bent over her sister to watch — she 
hardly knew for what. Half an hour passed away, and the 
favourable symptom yet blessed her. Others even arose to 
confirm it. Her breath, her skin, her lips, all flattered Elinor 



with signs of amendment ; and Marianne fixed her eyes on her 
with a rational, though languid, gaze. Anxiety and hope now 
oppressed her in equal degrees, and left her no moment of 
tranquillity till the arrival of Mr. Harris at four o'clock ; when 
his assurances, his felicitations on a recovery in her sister even 
surpassing his expectation, gave her confidence, comfort, and 
tears of joy. 

Marianne was in every respect materially better; and he 
declared her entirely out of danger. Mrs. Jennings, perhaps 
satisfied with the partial justification of her forebodings which 
had been found in their late alarm, allowed herself to trust 
in his judgment, and admitted, with unfeigned joy, and soon 
with unequivocal cheerfulness, the probability of an entire 

Elinor could not be cheerful. Her joy was of a different 
kind, and led to anything rather than to gaiety. Marianne, 
restored to life, health, friends, and to her doting mother, was 
an idea to fill her heart with sensations of exquisite comfort, 
and expand it in fervent gratitude ; but it led to no outward 
demonstrations of joy, no words, no smiles. All within Elinor's 
breast was satisfaction, silent and strong. 

She continued by the side of her sister, with little inter- 
mission, the whole afternoon ; calming every fear, satisfying 
every inquiry of her enfeebled spirits, supplying every succour, 
and watching almost every look and every breath. The possi- 
bility of a relapse would, of course, in some moments, occur to 
remind her of what anxiety was ; but when she saw, on her 
frequent and minute examination, that every symptom of re- 
covery continued, and saw Marianne at six o'clock sink into a 
quiet, steady, and to all appearance comfortable, sleep, she 
silenced every doubt. 

The time was now drawing on when Colonel Brandon might 
be expected back. At ten o'clock, she trusted, or at least not 
much later, her mother would be relieved from the dreadful 
suspense in which she must now be travelling towards them. 
The Colonel, too ! — perhaps scarcely less an object of pity 1 
Oh, how slow was the progress of time which yet kept them in 
ignorance ! 

At seven o'clock, leaving Marianne still sweetly asleep, she 
joined Mrs. Jennings in the drawing-room to tea. Of break- 
fast she had been kept by her fears, and of dinner by their 



sudden reverse, from eating much ; and the present refresh- 
ment therefore, with such feelings of content as she brought 
to it, was particularly welcome. Mrs. Jennings would have 
persuaded her, at its conclusion, to take some rest before her 
mother's arrival, and allow her to take her place by Marianne ; 
but Elinor had no sense of fatigue, no capability of sleep, at 
that moment about her, and she was not to be kept away from 
her sister an unnecessary instant. Mrs. Jennings, therefore, 
attending her upstairs into the sick chamber, to satisfy herself 
that all continued right, left her there again to her charge and 
her thoughts, and retired to her own room to write letters and 

The night was cold and stormy. The wind roared round 
the house, and the rain beat against the windows ; but Elinor, 
all happiness within, regarded it not. Marianne slept through 
every blast ; and the travellers, they had a rich reward in store, 
for every present inconvenience. 

The clock struck eight. Had it been ten, Elinor would 
have been convinced that at that moment she heard a carriage 
driving up to the house ; and so strong was the persuasion 
that she did y in spite of the almost impossibility of their being 
already come, that she moved into the adjoining dressing-closet 
and opened a window-shutter, to be satisfied of the truth. She 
instantly saw that her ears had not deceived her. The flaring 
lamps of a carriage were immediately in view. By their un- 
certain light she thought she could discern it to be drawn by 
four horses ; and this, while it told the excess of her poor 
mother's alarm, gave some explanation to such unexpected 

Never in her life had Elinor found it so difficult to be calm 
as at that moment. The knowledge of what her mother must 
be feeling as the carriage stopped at the door, — of her doubt — 
her dread, — perhaps her despair ! — and of what she had to 
tell ! with such knowledge it was impossible to be calm. All 
that remained to be done was to be speedy ; and, therefore, 
staying only till she could leave Mrs. Jennings's maid with her 
sister, she hurried downstairs. 

The bustle in the vestibule, as she passed along an inner 
lobby, assured her that they were already in the house. She 
rushed forwards towards the drawing-room ; she entered it, — 
and saw only Willoughby. 


Opened a window-shutter. 



Elinor, starting back with a look of horror at the sight of 
him, obeyed the first impulse of her heart in turning instantly 
to quit the room ; and her hand was already on the lock, when 
its action was suspended by his hastily advancing, and saying, 
in a voice rather of command than supplication — 

* Miss Dashwood, for half an hour — for ten minutes — I 
entreat you to stay.' 

' No, sir,' she replied with firmness, ' I shall not stay. Your 
business cannot be with me. The servants, I suppose, forgot 
to tell you that Mr. Palmer was not in the house.' 

* Had they told me,' he cried with vehemence, c that Mr. 
Palmer and all his relations were at the devil, it would not 
have turned me from the door. My business is with you, and 
only you. 5 

' With me ! ' — in the utmost amazement ; — ' well, sir — be 
quick — and if you can — less violent.' 

c Sit down, and I will be both.' 

She hesitated ; she knew not what to do. The possibility 
of Colonel Brandon's arriving and finding him there came 
across her. But she had promised to hear him ; and her 
curiosity no less than her honour was engaged. After a 
moment's recollection, therefore, concluding that prudence 
required despatch, and that her acquiescence would best pro- 
mote it, she walked silently towards the table, and sat down. 
He took the opposite chair ; and for half a minute not a word 
was said by either. 

c Pray be quick, sir,' said Elinor, impatiently ; ' I have no 
time to spare.' 

He was sitting in an attitude of deep meditation, and seemed 
not to hear her. 

' Your sister,' said he, with abruptness, a moment afterwards, 
'is out of danger. I heard it from the servant. God be 
praised ! But is it true ? is it really true ? ' 

Elinor would not speak. He repeated the inquiry with yet 
greater eagerness. 

4 For God's sake tell me is she out of danger, or is she not ? ' 


* / entreat you to stay* 


* We hope she is.' 

He rose up, and walked across the room. 

* Had I known as much half an hour ago ; — but since I am 
here,' speaking with a forced vivacity as he returned to his 
seat, — ' what does it signify ? For once, Miss Dashwood — it 
will be the last time, perhaps — let us be cheerful together. I 
am in a fine mood for gaiety. Tell me honestly,' a deeper 
glow overspreading his cheeks, * do you think me most a knave 
or a fool ? ' 

Elinor looked at him with greater astonishment than ever. 
She began to think that he must be in liquor ; — the strange- 
ness of such a visit, and of such manners, seemed no otherwise 
intelligible; and with this impression she immediately rose, 
saying — 

'Mr. Willoughby, I advise you, at present, to return to 
Combe. I am not at leisure to remain with you longer. 
Whatever your business may be with me, it will be better 
recollected and explained to-morrow. ' 

' I understand you,' he replied, with an expressive smile, 
and a voice perfectly calm ; 'yes, I am very drunk. A pint 
of porter with my cold beef at Marlborough was enough to 
overset me.' 

' At Marlborough ! ' cried Elinor, more and more at a loss 
to understand what he would be at. 

< Yes — I left London this morning at eight o'clock, and the 
only ten minutes I have spent out of my chaise since that time 
procured me a nuncheon at Marlborough.' 

The steadiness of his manner, and the intelligence of his 
eye as he spoke, convincing Elinor, that whatever other un- 
pardonable folly might bring him to Cleveland, he was not 
brought there by intoxication, she said, after a moment's 
recollection — 

' Mr. Willoughby, you ought to feel, and I certainly do> that 
after what has passed, your coming here in this manner, and 
forcing yourself upon my notice, requires a very particular 
excuse. What is it that you mean by it ? ' 

' I mean,' said he, with serious energy, ' if I can, to make 
you hate me one degree less than you do now. I mean to 
offer some kind of explanation, some kind of apology, for the 
past ; to open my whole heart to you, and by convincing you, 
that though I have been always a blockhead, I have not been 



always a rascal, to obtain something like forgiveness from 
Ma , from your sister.' 

' Is this the real reason of your coming ? ' 

£ Upon my soul it is,' was his answer, with a warmth which 
brought all the former Willoughby to her remembrance, and, 
in spite of herself, made her think him sincere. 

£ If that is all, you may be satisfied already ; for Marianne 
does, she has long forgiven you.' 

* Has she ? ' he cried, in the same eager tone. ' Then she 
has forgiven me before she ought to have done it. But she 
shall forgive me again, and on more reasonable grounds. 
Now will you listen to me ? ' 

Elinor bowed her assent. 

' I do not know,' said he, after a pause of expectation on 
her side, and though tfulness on his own, * how you may have 
accounted for my behaviour to your sister, or what diabolical 
motive you may have imputed to me. Perhaps you will 
hardly think the better of me, — it is worth the* trial, how- 
ever, — and you shall hear everything. When I first became 
intimate in your family, I had no other intention, no other view 
in the acquaintance, than to pass my time pleasantly while I 
was obliged to remain in Devonshire, more pleasantly than I 
had ever done before. Your sister's lovely person, and interest- 
ing manners, could not but please me ; and her behaviour to 
me almost from the first was of a kind — it is astonishing, when 
I reflect on what it was, and what she was, that my heart 
should have been so insensible ! But at first, I must confess, 
my vanity only was elevated by it. Careless of her happiness, 
thinking only of my own amusement, giving way to feelings 
which I had always been too much in the habit of indulging, 
I endeavoured, by every means in my power, to make myself 
pleasing to her, without any design of returning her affection. ' 

Miss Dashwood, at this point, turning her eyes on him 
with the most angry contempt, stopped him by saying — 

* It is hardly worth while, Mr. Willoughby, for you to 
relate, or for me to listen, any longer. Such a beginning as 
this cannot be followed by anything. Do not let me be pained 
by hearing anything more on the subject.' 

* I insist on your hearing the whole of it,' he replied. * My 
fortune was never large, and I had always been expensive, 
always in the nabit of associating with people of better income 



than myself. Every year since my coming of age, or even 
before, I believe, had added to my debts ; and though the death 
of my old cousin, Mrs. Smith, was to set me free, yet that event 
being uncertain, and possibly far distant, it had been for some 
time my intention to re-establish my circumstances by marry- 
ing a woman of fortune. To attach myself to your sister, there- 
fore, was not a thing to be thought of; and with a meanness, 
selfishness, cruelty, which no indignant, no contemptuous look 
even of yours, Miss Dash wood, can ever reprobate too much, — 
I was acting in this manner, trying to engage her regard, 
without a thought of returning it. But one thing may be said 
for me ; even in that horrid state of selfish vanity, I did not 
know the extent of the injury I meditated, because I did not 
then know what it was to love. But have I ever known it ? 
Well may it be doubted ; for, had I really loved, could I have 
sacrificed my feelings to vanity, to avarice ? or, what is more, 
could I have sacrificed hers ? But I have done it. To avoid 
a comparative poverty, which her affection and her society would 
have deprived of all its horrors, I have, by raising myself to 
affluence, lost everything that could make it a blessing.' 

* You did, then,' said Elinor, a little softened, < believe your- 
self at one time attached to her ? ' 

c To have resisted such attractions, to have withstood such 
tenderness ! Is there a man on earth who could have done it ? 
Yes, I found myself, by insensible degrees, sincerely fond of 
her ; and the happiest hours of my life were what I spent with 
her when I felt my intentions were strictly honourable, and my 
feelings blameless. Even then, however, when fully determined 
on paying my addresses to her, I allowed myself most im- 
properly to put off, from day to day, the moment of doing it, 
from an unwillingness to enter into an engagement while my cir- 
cumstances were so greatly embarrassed. I will not reason here 
— nor will I stop for you to expatiate on the absurdity, and the 
worse than absurdity, of scrupling to engage my faith where 
my honour was already bound. The event has proved that I 
was a cunning fool, providing with great circumspection for 
a possible opportunity of making myself contemptible and 
wretched for ever. At last, however, my resolution was taken ; 
and I had determined, as soon as I could engage her alone, to 
justify the attentions I had so invariably paid her, and openly 
assure her of an affection which I had already taken such pains 



to display. But in the interim — in the interim of the very few 
hours that were to pass before I could have an opportunity of 
speaking with her in private — a circumstance occurred — an 
unlucky circumstance — to ruin all my resolution, and with it 
all my comfort. A discovery took place,' — here he hesitated 
and looked down. £ Mrs. Smith had somehow or other been 
informed, I imagine by some distant relation, whose interest it 
was to deprive me of her favour, of an affair, a connection — but I 
need not explain myself further,' he added, looking at her with 
a heightened colour and an inquiring eye, — 'your particular 
intimacy — you have probably heard the whole story long ago.' 

' I have,' returned Elinor, colouring likewise, and hardening 
her heart anew against any compassion for him, £ I have heard 
it all ; and how you will explain away any part of your guilt in 
that dreadful business I confess is beyond my comprehension.' 

* Remember,' cried Willoughby, * from whom you received the 
account. Could it be an impartial one ? I acknowledge that 
her situation and her character ought to have been respected 
by me. I do not mean to justify myself, but at the same time 
cannot leave you to suppose that I have nothing to urge — that 
because she was injured she was irreproachable, and because 
/ was a libertine she must be a saint. If the violence of her 
passions, the weakness of her understanding — I do not mean, 
however, to defend myself. Her affection for me deserved better 
treatment ; and I often, with great self-reproach, recall the 
tenderness which, for a very short time, had the power of 
creating any return. I wish — I heartily wish it had never 
been. But I have injured more than herself; and I have 
injured one, whose affection for me (may I say it ?) was 
scarcely less warm than hers; and whose mind — oh, how 
infinitely superior ! ' 

'Your indifference, however, towards that unfortunate girl 
— I must say it, unpleasant to me as the discussion of such a 
subject may well be — your indifference is no apology for your 
cruel neglect of her. Do not think yourself excused by any 
weakness, any natural defect of understanding on her side, in 
the wanton cruelty so evident on yours. You must have 
known, that while you were enjoying yourself in Devonshire, 
pursuing fresh schemes, always gay, always happy, she was 
reduced to the extremest indigence.' 

' But, upon my soul, I did not know it,' he warmly replied ; 


; I did not recollect that I had omitted to give her my 
direction ; and common sense might have told her how to 
find it out/ 

* Well, sir, and what said Mrs. Smith ? ; 

* She taxed me with the offence at once, and my confusion 
may be guessed. The purity of her life, the formality of her 
notions, her ignorance of the world, — everything was against 
me. The matter itself I could not deny, and vain was every 
endeavour to soften it. She was previously disposed, I believe, 
to doubt the morality of my conduct in general, and was, 
moreover, discontented with the very little attention, the very 
little portion of my time that I had bestowed on her in my 
present visit. In short, it ended in a total breach. By one 
measure I might have saved myself. In the height of her 
morality, good woman ! she offered to forgive the past, if I 
would marry Eliza. That could not be ; and I was formally 
dismissed from her favour and her house. The night following 
this affair — I was to go the next morning — was spent by me 
in deliberating on what my future conduct should be. The 
struggle was great, but it ended too soon. My affection for 
Marianne, my thorough conviction of her attachment to me — 
it was all insufficient to outweigh that dread of poverty, or get 
the better of those false ideas of the necessity of riches, which 
I was naturally inclined to feel, and expensive society had 
increased. I had reason to believe myself secure of my 
present wife, if I chose to address her, and I persuaded my- 
self to think that nothing else in common prudence remained 
for me to do. A heavy scene, however, awaited me before I 
could leave Devonshire : I was engaged to dine with you on 
that very day ; some apology was therefore necessary for my 
breaking the engagement. But whether I should write this 
apology, or deliver it in person, was a point of long debate. 
To see Marianne I felt would be dreadful ; and I even doubted 
whether I could see her again and keep to my resolution. In 
that point, however, I undervalued my own magnanimity, as 
the event declared ; for I went, I saw her, and saw her miser- 
able, and left her 'miserable ; — and left her hoping never to see 
her again/ 

1 Why did you call, Mr. Willoughby ? ' said Elinor reproach- 
fully ; c a note would have answered every purpose. Why was 
it necessary to call ? ' 

U 289 

c / was formally dismissed? 


* It was necessary to my own pride. I could not bear to 
leave the country in a manner that might lead you, or the rest 
of the neighbourhood, to suspect any part of what had really 
passed between Mrs. Smith and myself, and I resolved, there- 
fore, on calling at the cottage, in my way to Honiton. The 
sight of your dear sister, however, was really dreadful ; and, 
to heighten the matter, I found her alone. You were all gone 
I do not know where. I had left her only the evening before, 
so fully, so firmly resolved within myself on doing right ! A 
few hours were to have engaged her to me for ever ; and I 
remember how happy, how gay, were my spirits, as I walked 
from the cottage to Allenham, satisfied with myself, delighted 
with everybody ! But in this, our last interview of friendship, 
I approached her with a sense of guilt that almost took from 
me the power of dissembling. Her sorrow, her disappoint- 
ment, her deep regret, when I told her that I was obliged to 
leave Devonshire so immediately — I never shall forget it — 
united too with such reliance, such confidence in me ! O 
God ! what a hard-hearted rascal I was ! ' 

They were both silent for a few moments. Elinor first spoke. 

I Did you tell her that you should soon return ? ' 

I I do not know what I told her, 3 he replied impatiently ; 
1 less than was due to the past, beyond a doubt, and in all like- 
lihood much more than was justified by the future. I cannot 
think of it. It won't do. Then came your dear mother to 
torture me further, with all her kindness and confidence. 
Thank Heaven ! it did torture me. I was miserable. Miss 
Dashwood, you cannot have an idea of the comfort it gives me 
to look back on my own misery. I owe such a grudge to my- 
self for the stupid, rascally folly of my own heart, that all my 
past sufferings under it are only triumph and exultation to me 
now. Well, I went, left all that I loved, and went to those to 
whom, at best, I was only indifferent. My journey to town — 
travelling with my own horses, and therefore so tediously — no 
creature to speak to — my own reflections so cheerful — when I 
looked forward everything so inviting ! — when I looked back 
at Barton, the picture so soothing ! — oh, it was a blessed 
journey ! ' 

He stopped. 

* Well, sir,' said Elinor, who, though pitying him, grew im- 
patient for his departure, * and this is all ? ' 



* All ! — no ; — have you forgot what passed in town ? That 
infamous letter ? Did she show it you ? ' 

* Yes, I saw every note that passed.' 

* When the first of hers reached me (as it immediately did, 
for I was in town the whole time), what I felt is, in the 
common phrase, not to be expressed; in a more simple one, 
perhaps too simple to raise any emotion, my feelings were 
very, very painful. Every line, every word, was — in the 
hackneyed metaphor which their dear writer, were she here, 
would forbid — a dagger to my heart. To know that Mari- 
anne was in town was, in the same language, a thunderbolt. 
Thunderbolts and daggers ! what a reproof would she have 
given me ! Her taste, her opinions — I believe they are better 
known to me than my own, and I am sure they are dearer.' 

Elinor's heart, which had undergone many changes in the 
course of this extraordinary conversation, was now softened 
again ; yet she felt it her duty to check such ideas in her 
companion as the last. 

' This is not right, Mr. Willoughby. Remember that you 
are married. Relate only what in your conscience you think 
necessary for me to hear.' 

4 Marianne's note, by assuring me that I was still as dear 
to her as in former days, — that in spite of the many, many 
weeks we had been separated, she was as constant in her own 
feelings and as full of faith in the constancy of mine as ever, 
— awakened all my remorse. I say awakened, because time 
and London, business and dissipation, had in some measure 
quieted it, and I had been growing a fine hardened villain, 
fancying myself indifferent to her, and choosing to fancy that 
she too must have become indifferent to me ; talking to myself 
of our past attachment as a mere idle, trifling business ; 
shrugging up my shoulders in proof of its being so, and 
silencing every reproach, overcoming every scruple, by secretly 
saying now and then, " I shall be heartily glad to hear she is 
well married." But this note made me know myself better. 
I felt that she was infinitely dearer to me than any other 
woman in the world, and that I was using her infamously. 
But everything was then just settled between Miss Grey and 
me. To retreat was impossible. All that I had to do was to 
avoid you both. I sent no answer to Marianne, intending by 
that means to preserve myself from her further notice ; and for 



some time I was even determined not to call in Berkeley Street ; 
but at last, judging it wiser to affect the air of a cool, common 
acquaintance than anything else, I watched you all safely out 
of the house one morning, and left my name.' 

' Watched us out of the house ! ' 

'Even so. You would be surprised to hear how often I 
watched you, how often I was on the point of falling in with 
you. I have entered many a shop to avoid your sight as the 
carriage drove by. Lodging as I did in Bond Street, 
there was hardly a day in which I did not catch a glimpse 
of one or other of you ; and nothing but the most constant 
watchfulness on my side, a most invariably prevailing desire 
to keep out of your sight, could have separated us so long. 
I avoided the Middletons as much as possible, as well as 
everybody else who was likely to prove an acquaintance in 
common. Not aware of their being in town, however, I 
blundered on Sir John, I believe, the first day of his coming, 
and the day after I had called at Mrs. Jennings's. He asked 
me to a party, a dance at his house in the evening. Had he 
not told me as an inducement that you and your sister were to 
be there, I should have felt it too certain a thing to trust 
myself near him. The next morning brought another short 
note from Marianne — still affectionate, open, artless, confiding 
— everything that could make my conduct most hateful. I 
could not answer it. I tried — but could not frame a sentence. 
But I thought of her, I believe, every moment of the day. If 
you can pity me, Miss Dashwood, pity my situation as it was 
then. With my head and heart full of your sister, I was forced 
to play the happy lover to another woman. Those three or 
four weeks were worse than all. Well, at last, as I need not 
tell you, you were forced on me ; and what a sweet figure I 
cut ! what an evening of agony it was ! Marianne, beautiful as 
an angel on one side, calling me Willoughby in such a tone ! 
O God ! holding out her hand to me, asking me for an 
explanation, with those bewitching eyes fixed in such speaking 
solicitude on my face ! and Sophia, jealous as the devil, on the 

other hand, looking all that was Well, it does not signify ; 

it is over now. Such an evening ! I ran away from you all as 
soon as I could ; but not before I had seen Marianne's sweet 
face as white as death. That was the last, last look I ever 
had of her ; the last manner in which she appeared to me. It 


' / have entered many a slwp io avoid your sight: 


was a horrid sight ! Yet when I thought of her to-day as 
really dying, it was a kind of comfort to me to imagine that I 
knew exactly how she would appear to those who saw her last 
in this world. She was before me, constantly before me, as I 
travelled, in the same look and hue. 3 

A short pause of mutual thoughtfulness succeeded. Wil- 
loughby, first rousing himself, broke it thus — 

* Well, let me make haste and be gone. Your sister is 
certainly better, certainly out of danger ? J 

* We are assured of it. 5 

* Your poor mother, too ! doting on Marianne. 

* But the letter, Mr. Willoughby, your own letter ; have 
you anything to say about that ? ' 

* Yes, yes, that in particular. Your sister wrote to me 
again, you know, the very next morning. You saw what she 
said. I was breakfasting at the Ellisons, — and her letter, with 
some others, was brought to me there from my lodgings. 
It happened to catch Sophia's eye before it caught mine ; — 
and its size, the elegance of the paper, the handwriting 
altogether, immediately gave her a suspicion. Some vague 
report had reached her before of my attachment to some young 
lady in Devonshire, and what had passed within her observa- 
tion the preceding evening had marked who the young lady 
was, and made her more jealous than ever. Affecting that air 
of playfulness, therefore, which is delightful in a woman one 
loves, she opened the letter directly, and read its contents. 
She was well paid for her impudence. She read what made 
her wretched. Her wretchedness I could have borne, but her 
passion — her malice — at all events it must be appeased. And, 
in short, what do you think of my wife's style of letter-writing ? 
— delicate — tender — truly feminine — was it not ? ' 

* Your wife ! The letter was in your own handwriting.' 

* Yes, but I had only the credit of servilely copying such 
sentences as I was ashamed to put my name to. The original 
was all her own — her own happy thoughts and gentle diction. 
But what could I do ? We were engaged, everything in pre- 
paration, the day almost fixed — but I am talking like a fool. 
Preparation ! Day ! In honest words, her money was neces- 
sary to me, and in a situation like mine anything was to be 
done to prevent a rupture. And after all, what did it signify 
to my character, in the opinion of Marianne and her friends, 



in what language my answer was couched? It must have 
been only to one end. My business was to declare myself a 
scoundrel ; and whether I did it with a bow or a bluster was 
of little importance. "I am ruined for ever in their opinion," 
said I to myself; " I am shut out for ever from their society; 
they already think me an unprincipled fellow ; this letter will 
only make them think me a blackguard one." Such were my 
reasonings as, in a sort of desperate carelessness, I copied my 
wife's words, and parted with the last relics of Marianne. Her 
three notes, — unluckily they were all in my pocket-book, or I 
should have denied their existence, and hoarded them for ever, 
— I was forced to put them up, and could not even kiss them. 
And the lock of hair — that, too, I had always carried about 
me in the same pocket-book, which was now searched by 
madam with the most ingratiating virulence, — the dear lock, — 
all, every memento was torn from me.' 

c You are very wrong, Mr. Willoughby ; very blamable, 5 
said Elinor ; while her voice, in spite of herself, betrayed her 
compassionate emotion ; * you ought not to speak in this way, 
either of Mrs. Willoughby or my sister. You have made your 
own choice. It was not forced on you. Your wife has a claim 
to your politeness, to your respect, at least. She must be 
attached to you, or she would not have married you. To treat 
her with unkindness, to speak of her slightingly, is no atone- 
ment to Marianne ; nor can I suppose it a relief to your own 

' Do not talk to me of my wife,' said he with a heavy sigh ; 
* she does not deserve your compassion. She knew I had no 
regard for her when we married. Well, married we were, and 
came down to Combe Magna to be happy, and afterwards 
returned to town to be gay. And now do you pity me, Miss 
Dashwood ? Or have I said all this to no purpose ? Am I, — 
be it only one degree, — am I less guilty in your opinion than I 
was before ? My intentions were not always wrong. Have I 
explained away any part of my guilt ? s 

* Yes, you have certainly removed something — a little. You 
have proved yourself, on the whole, less faulty than I had 
believed you. You have proved your heart less wicked, much 
less wicked. But I hardly know — the misery that you have 
inflicted — I hardly know what could have made it worse. 5 

* Will you repeat to your sister, when she is recovered, what 



I have been telling you ? Let me be a little lightened, too, in 
her opinion as well as in yours. You tell me that she has 
forgiven me already. Let me be able to fancy that a better 
knowledge of my heart, and of my present feelings, will draw 
from her a more spontaneous, more natural, more gentle, less 
dignified, forgiveness. Tell her of my misery and my penitence ; 
— tell her that my heart was never inconstant to her ; and, if 
you will, that at this moment she is dearer to me than ever.' 

' 1 will tell her all that is necessary to what may compara- 
tively be called your justification. But you have not explained 
to me the particular reason of your coming now, nor how you 
heard of her illness.' 

' Last night, in Drury Lane lobby, I ran against Sir John 
Middleton ; and when he saw who I was, for the first time 
these two months he spoke to me. That he had cut me ever 
since my marriage, I had seen without surprise or resentment. 
Now, however, his good-natured, honest, stupid soul, full of 
indignation against me, and concern for your sister, could not 
resist the temptation of telling me what he knew ought to, 
though probably he did not think it would, vex me horridly. 
As bluntly as he could speak it, therefore, he told me that 
Marianne Dashwood was dying of a putrid fever at Cleveland 
— a letter that morning received from Mrs. Jennings declared 
her danger most imminent — the Palmers all gone off in a 
fright, etc. I was too much shocked to be able to pass myself 
off as insensible even to the undiscerning Sir John. His heart 
was softened in seeing mine suffer ; and so much of his ill-will 
was done away, that when we parted he almost shook me by 
the hand while he reminded me of an old promise about a 
pointer puppy. What I felt on hearing that your sister was 
dying, and dying, too, believing me the greatest villain upon 
earth, scorning, hating me in her latest moments — for how 
could I tell what horrid projects might not have been imputed ? 
One person I was sure would represent me as capable of any- 
thing. What I felt was dreadful ! My resolution was soon 
made, and at eight o'clock this morning I was in my carriage. 
Now you know all.' 

Elinor made no answer. Her thoughts were silently fixed 
on the irreparable injury which too early an independence, and 
its consequent habits of idleness, dissipation, and luxury, had 
made in the mind, the character, the happiness, of a man who, 



to every advantage of person and talents, united a disposition 
naturally open and honest, and a feeling, affectionate temper. 
The world had made him extravagant and vain — extravagance 
and vanity had made him cold-hearted and selfish. Vanity, 
while seeking its own guilty triumph at the expense of another, 
had involved him in a real attachment, which extravagance, or 
at least its offspring, necessity, had required to be sacrificed. 
Each faulty propensity, in leading him to evil, had led him 
likewise to punishment. The attachment, from which, against 
honour, against feeling, against every better interest, he had 
outwardly torn himself, now, when no longer allowable, governed 
every thought ; and the connection, for the sake of which he 
had, with little scruple, left her sister to misery, was likely to 
prove a source of unhappiness to himself of a far more incurable 
nature. From a reverie of this kind she was recalled at the 
end of some minutes by Willoughby, who, rousing himself from 
a reverie at least equally painful, started up in preparation for 
going, and said — 

* There is no use in staying here ; I must be off.' 
4 Are you going back to town ? ' 

'No — to Combe Magna. I have business there; from 
thence to town in a day or two. Good-bye.' 

He held out his hand. She could not refuse to give him 
hers ; he pressed it with affection. 

4 And you do think something better of me than you did ? ' 
said he, letting it fall, and leaning against the mantelpiece, as 
if forgetting he was to go. 

Elinor assured him that she did ; — that she forgave, pitied, 
wished him well — was even interested in his happiness — and 
added some gentle counsel as to the behaviour most likely to 
promote it. His answer was not very encouraging. 

* As to that,' said he, * I must rub through the world as well 
as I can. Domestic happiness is out of the question. If, 
however, I am allowed to think that you and yours feel an 
interest in my fate and actions, it may be the means — it may 
put me on my guard — at least it will be something to live for. 
Marianne, to be sure, is lost to me for ever. Were I even by 
any blessed chance at liberty again ' 

Elinor stopped him with a reproof. 

* Well,' he replied, * once more good-bye. I shall now go 
away and live in dread of one event.' 



c What do you mean ? ' 

' Your sister's marriage.' 

c You are very wrong. She can never be more lost to you 
than she is now.' 

* But she will be gained by someone else. And if that 
someone should be the very he whom, of all others, I could 
least bear — but I will not stay to rob myself of all your com- 
passionate goodwill, by showing that where I have most 
injured I can least forgive. Good-bye, — God bless you ! ' 

And with these words he almost ran out of the room. 


Elinor, for some time after he left her, for some time even 
after the sound of his carriage had died away, remained too 
much oppressed by a crowd of ideas, widely differing in them- 
selves, but of which sadness was the general result, to think 
even of her sister. 

Willoughby, — he whom only half an hour ago she had 
abhorred as the most worthless of men, — Willoughby, in spite 
of all his faults, excited a degree of commiseration for the suffer- 
ings produced by them, which made her think of him as now 
separated for ever from her family, with a tenderness, a regret, 
rather in proportion, as she soon acknowledged within herself, 
to his wishes than to his merits. She felt that his influence 
over her mind was heightened by circumstances which ought 
not in reason to have weight ; by that person of uncommon 
attraction, that open, affectionate, and lively manner, which it 
was no merit to possess ; and by that still ardent love for 
Marianne, which it was not even innocent to indulge. But 
she felt that it was so, long, long before she could feel his 
influence less. 

When at last she returned to the unconscious Marianne, 
she found her just awaking, refreshed by so long and sweet a 
sleep to the extent of her hopes. Elinor's heart was full. The 
past, the present, the future, Willoughby's visit, Marianne's 
safety, and her mother's expected arrival, threw her altogether 
into an agitation of spirits which kept off every indication of 



fatigue, and made her only fearful of betraying herself to her 
sister. Short was the time, however, in which that fear could 
affect her ; for within half an hour after Willoughby's leaving 
the house, she was again called downstairs by the sound of 
another carriage. Eager to save her mother from every un- 
necessary moment's horrible suspense, she ran immediately 
into the hall, and reached the outward door just in time to 
receive and support her as she entered it. 

Mrs. Dashwood, whose terror as they drew near the house 
had produced almost the conviction of Marianne's being no 
more, had no voice to inquire after her, no voice even for 
Elinor ; but she, waiting neither for salutation nor inquiry, 
instantly gave the joyful relief; and her mother, catching it 
with all her usual warmth, was in a moment as much overcome 
by her happiness as she had been before by her fears. She 
was supported into the drawing-room between her daughter 
and her friend ; and there, shedding tears of joy, though still 
unable to speak, embraced Elinor again and again, turning 
from her at intervals to press Colonel Brandon's hand, with a 
look which spoke at once her gratitude, and her conviction of 
his sharing with herself in the bliss of the moment. He shared 
it, however, in a silence even greater than her own. 

As soon as Mrs. Dashwood had recovered herself, to see 
Marianne was her first desire ; and in two minutes she was 
with her beloved child, rendered dearer to her than ever by 
absence, unhappiness, and danger. Elinor's delight, as she 
saw what each felt in the meeting, was only checked by an 
apprehension of its robbing Marianne of further sleep ; but 
Mrs. Dashwood could be calm, could be even prudent, when 
the life of a child was at stake ; and Marianne, satisfied in 
knowing her mother was near her, and conscious of being too 
weak for conversation, submitted readily to the silence and 
quiet prescribed by every nurse around her. Mrs. Dashwood 
would sit up with her all night ; and Elinor, in compliance 
with her mother's entreaty, went to bed. But the rest, which 
one night entirely sleepless and many hours of the most wear- 
ing anxiety seemed to make requisite, was kept off by irritation 
of spirits. Willoughby, ' poor Willoughby,' as she now allowed 
herself to call him, was constantly in her thoughts ; she would 
not but have heard his vindication for the world, and now 
blamed, now acquitted herself for having judged him so harshly 



before. But her promise of relating it to her sister was invari- 
ably painful. She dreaded the performance of it, dreaded what 
its effect on Marianne might be ; doubted whether, after such 
an explanation, she could ever be happy with another ; and for 
a moment wished Willoughby a widower. Then, remembering 
Colonel Brandon, reproved herself, felt that to his sufferings 
and his constancy, far more than to his rival's, the reward of 
her sister was due, and wished anything rather than Mrs. 
Willoughby's death. 

The shock of Colonel Brandon's errand at Barton had been 
much softened to Mrs. Dashwood by her own previous alarm ; 
for so great was her uneasiness about Marianne, that she had 
already determined to set out for Cleveland on that very day, 
without waiting for any further intelligence, and had so far 
settled her journey before his arrival, that the Careys were then 
expected every moment to fetch Margaret away, as her mother 
was unwilling to take her where there might be infection. 

Marianne continued to mend every day ; and the brilliant 
cheerfulness of Mrs. Dashwood's looks and spirits proved her 
to be, as she repeatedly declared herself, one of the happiest 
women in the world. Elinor could not hear the declaration, 
nor witness its proofs, without sometimes wondering whether 
her mother ever recollected Edward. But Mrs. Dashwood, 
trusting to the temperate account of her own disappointment, 
which Elinor had sent her, was led away by the exuberance 
of her joy to think only of what would increase it. Marianne 
was restored to her, from a danger in which, as she now began 
to feel, her own mistaken judgment in encouraging the un- 
fortunate attachment to Willoughby had contributed to place 
her ; and in her recovery she had yet another source of joy, 
unthought of by Elinor. It was thus imparted to her, as soon 
as any opportunity of private conference between them occurred. 

' At last we are alone. My Elinor, you do not yet know 
all my happiness. Colonel Brandon loves Marianne. He has 
told me so himself.' 

Her daughter, feeling by turns both pleased and pained, 
surprised and not surprised, was all silent attention. 

£ You are never like me, dear Elinor, or I should wonder 
at your composure now. Had I sat down to wish for any 
possible good to my family, I should have fixed on Colonel 
Brandon's marrying one of you, as the object most desirable ; 



and I believe Marianne will be the most happy with him of 
the two.' 

Elinor was half inclined to ask her reason for thinking so, 
because satisfied that none, founded on an impartial considera- 
tion of their age, characters, or feelings, could be given ; but 
her mother must always be carried away by her imagination, 
on any interesting subject ; and, therefore, instead of an inquiry, 
she passed it off with a smile. 

' He opened his whole heart to me yesterday as we travelled. 
It came out quite unawares, quite undesignedly. I, you may 
well believe, could talk of nothing but my child ; — he could not 
conceal his distress ; I saw that it equalled my own ; and he, 
perhaps thinking that mere friendship, as the world now goes, 
would not justify so warm a sympathy ; or rather, not thinking 
at all, I suppose, giving way to irresistible feelings, made me 
acquainted with his earnest, tender, constant, affection for 
Marianne. He has loved her, my Elinor, ever since the first 
moment of seeing her.' 

Here, however, Elinor perceived, not the language, not the 
professions of Colonel Brandon, but the natural embellish- 
ments of her mother's active fancy, which fashioned everything 
delightful to her as it chose. 

1 His regard for her, infinitely surpassing anything that 
Willoughby ever felt or feigned, as much more warm, as more 
sincere or constant, whichever we are to call it, has subsisted 
through all the knowledge of dear Marianne's unhappy pre- 
possession for that worthless young man ! and without selfish- 
ness, without encouraging a hope ! could he have seen her 
happy with another. Such a noble mind ! such openness, such 
sincerity ! No one can be deceived in him.' 

* Colonel Brandon's character, said Elinor, ' as an excellent 
man, is well established.' 

* I. know it is,' replied her mother, seriously, ' or, after such 
a warning, / should be the last to encourage such affection, or 
even to be pleased by it. But his coming for me, as he did, 
with such active, such ready friendship, is enough to prove 
him one of the worthiest of men.' 

e His character, however,' answered Elinor, c does not rest 
on one act of kindness, to which his affection for Marianne, 
were humanity out of the case, would have prompted him. 
To Mrs. Jennings, to the Middletons, he has been long and 



intimately known ; they equally love and respect him ; and 
even my own knowledge of him, though lately acquired, is 
very considerable ; and so highly do / value and esteem him, 
that if Marianne can be happy with him, I shall be as ready 
as yourself to think our connection the greatest blessing to us 
in the world. What answer did you give him ? Did you 
allow him to hope ? ' 

1 Oh, my love ! I could not then talk of hope to him or to 
myself. Marianne might, at that moment, be dying. But he 
did not ask for hope, or encouragement. His was an in- 
voluntary confidence, an irrepressible effusion to a soothing 
friend, not an application to a parent. Yet, after a time I did 
say, for, at first, I was quite overcome, that if she lived, as I 
trusted she might, "my greatest happiness would lie in promot- 
ing their marriage ; and since our arrival, since our delightful 
security, I have repeated it to him more fully, have given him 
every encouragement in my power. Time, a very little time, I 
tell him, will do everything ; Marianne's heart is not to be 
wasted for ever on such a man as Willoughby. His own 
merits must soon secure it.' 

' To judge from the Colonel's spirits, however, you have not 
yet made him equally sanguine.' 

* No. He thinks Marianne's affection too deeply rooted 
for any change in it under a great length of time ; and even 
supposing her heart again free, is too diffident of himself to 
believe, that with such a difference of age and disposition he 
could ever attach her. There, however, he is quite mistaken. 
His age is only so much beyond hers as to be an advantage, 
as to make his character and principles fixed ; and his dis- 
position, I am well convinced, is exactly the very one to make 
your sister happy. And his person, his manners, too, are all 
in his favour. My partiality does not blind me ; he certainly 
is not so handsome as Willoughby ; but, at the same time, 
there is something much more pleasing in his countenance. 
There was always a something, if you remember, in Wil- 
loughby's eyes at times, which I did not like.' 

Elinor could not remember it ; but her mother, without 
waiting for her assent, continued — 

'And his manners, the Colonel's manners are not only 
more pleasing to me than Willoughby's ever were, but they 
are of a kind I well know to be more solidly attaching to 



Marianne. Their gentleness, their genuine attention to other 
people, and their manly unstudied simplicity, is much more 
accordant with her real disposition than the liveliness, often 
artificial, and often ill timed, of the other. I am very sure 
myself, that had Willoughby turned out as really amiable as 
he has proved himself the contrary, Marianne would yet never 
have been so happy with him as she will be with Colonel 

She paused. Her daughter could not quite agree with her ; 
but her dissent was not heard, and therefore gave no offence. 

1 At Delaford, she will be within an easy distance of me, 5 
added Mrs. Dashwood, c even if I remain at Barton ; and in 
all probability, — for I hear it is a large village, — indeed there 
certainly must be some small house or cottage close by, that 
would suit us quite as well as our present situation.' 

Poor Elinor ! — here was a new scheme for getting her to 
Delaford ! — but her spirit was stubborn. 

* His fortune too ! — for at my time of life, you know every- 
body cares about that; — and though I neither know, nor 
desire to know, what it really is, I am sure it must be a good 

Here they were interrupted by the entrance of a third 
person ; and Elinor withdrew to think it all over in private, to 
wish success to her friend, and yet, in wishing it, to feel a pang 
for Willoughby. 


Marianne's illness, though weakening in its kind, had not 
been long enough to make her recovery slow; and with 
youth, natural strength, and her mother's presence in aid, it 
proceeded so smoothly as to enable her to remove, within four 
days after the arrival of the latter, into Mrs. Palmer's dressing- 
room. When there, at her own particular request, for she was 
impatient to pour forth her thanks to him for fetching her 
mother, Colonel Brandon was invited to visit her. 

His emotion in entering the room, in seeing her altered 
looks, and in receiving the pale hand which she immediately 
held out to him, was such as, in Elinor's conjecture, must 



arise from something more than his affection for Marianne, 
or the consciousness of its being known to others ; and she 
soon discovered, in his melancholy eye and varying complexion 
as he looked at her sister, the probable recurrence of many 
past scenes of misery to his mind, brought back by that 
resemblance between Marianne and Eliza already acknowledged, 
and now strengthened by the hollow eye, the sickly skin, the 
posture of reclining weakness, and the warm acknowledgment 
of peculiar obligation. 

Mrs. Dashwood, not less watchful of what passed than her 
daughter, but with a mind very differently influenced, and 
therefore watching to very different effect, saw nothing in the 
Coloners behaviour but what arose from the most simple and 
self-evident sensations, while in the actions and words of Mari- 
anne she persuaded herself to think that, something more than 
gratitude already dawned. 

At the end of another day or two, Marianne growing visibly 
stronger every twelve hours, Mrs. Dashwood, urged equally 
by her own and her daughter's wishes, began to talk of remov- 
ing to Barton. On her measures depended those of her two 
friends; Mrs. Jennings could not quit Cleveland during the 
Dash woods' stay ; and Colonel Brandon was soon brought, by 
their united request, to consider his own abode there as equally 
determinate, if not equally indispensable. At his and Mrs. 
Jennings's united request, in return, Mrs. Dashwood was 
prevailed on to accept the use of his carriage on her journey 
back, for the better accommodation of her sick child ; and the 
Colonel, at the joint invitation of Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. 
Jennings, whose active good- nature made her friendly and 
hospitable for other people as well as herself, engaged with 
pleasure to redeem it by a visit at the cottage, in the course of 
a few weeks. 

The day of separation and departure arrived ; and Mari- 
anne, after taking so particular and lengthened a leave of Mrs. 
Jennings, one so earnestly grateful, so full of respect and kind 
wishes as seemed due to her own heart from a secret acknow- 
ledgment of past inattention, and bidding Colonel Brandon 
farewell with the cordiality of a friend, was carefully assisted 
by him into the carriage, of which he seemed anxious that she 
should engross at least half. Mrs. Dashwood and Elinor then 
followed, and the others were left by themselves, to talk of the 

x 305 ' 


travellers, and feel their own dulness, till Mrs. Jennings was 
summoned to her chaise to take comfort in the gossip of her 
maid for the loss of her two young companions ; and Colonel 
Brandon immediately afterwards took his solitary way to 

The Dashwoods were two days on the road, and Marianne 
bore her journey on both without essential fatigue. Every- 
thing that the most zealous affection, the most solicitous care, 
could do to render her comfortable, was the office of each 
watchful companion, and each found their reward in her 
bodily ease, and her calmness of spirits. To Elinor, the 
observation of the latter was particularly grateful. She, who 
had seen her week after week so constantly suffering, oppressed 
by anguish of heart which she had neither courage to speak 
of, nor fortitude to conceal, now saw with a joy, which no 
other could equally share, an apparent composure of mind, 
which, in being the result, as she trusted, of serious reflection, 
must eventually lead her to contentment and cheerfulness. 

As they approached Barton, indeed, and entered on scenes, 
of which every field and every tree brought some peculiar, 
some painful recollection, she grew silent and thoughtful, and 
turning away her face from their notice, sat earnestly gazing 
through the window. But here Elinor could neither wonder 
nor blame ; and when she saw, as she assisted Marianne from 
the carriage, that she had been crying, she saw only an emotion 
too natural in itself to raise anything less tender than pity, 
and in its unobtrusiveness entitled to praise. In the whole of 
her subsequent manner she traced the direction of a mind 
awakened to reasonable exertion ; for no sooner had they 
entered their common sitting-room, than Marianne turned her 
eyes around it with a look of resolute firmness, as if determined 
at once to accustom herself to the sight of every object with 
which the remembrance of Willoughby could be connected. 
She said little, but every sentence aimed at cheerfulness ; and 
though a sigh sometimes escaped her, it never passed away 
without the atonement of a smile. After dinner she would try 
her pianoforte. She went to it ; but the music on which her 
eye first rested was an opera, procured for her by Willoughby, 
containing some of their favourite duets, and bearing on its 
outward leaf her own name in his handwriting. That would 
not do. She shook her head, put the music aside, and, after 



running over the keys for a minute, complained of feebleness 
in her fingers, and closed the instrument again ; declaring, 
however, with firmness, as she did so, that she should in 
future practise much. 

The next morning produced no abatement in these happy 
symptoms. On the contrary, with a mind and body alike 
strengthened by rest, she looked and spoke with more genuine 
spirit, anticipating the pleasure of Margaret's return, and 
talking of the dear family party which would then be restored, 
of their mutual pursuits and cheerful society, as the only 
happiness worth a wish. 

'When the weather is settled, and I have recovered my 
strength,' said she, 'we will take long walks together every 
day. We will walk to the farm at the edge of the down, and 
see how the children go on ; we will walk to Sir John's new 
plantations at Barton Cross, and the Abbeyland ; and we will 
often go to the old ruins of the Priory, and try to trace its 
foundations as far as we are told they once reached. I know 
we shall be happy. I know the summer will pass happily 
away. I mean never to be later in rising than six, and from 
that time till dinner I shall divide every moment between 
music and reading. I have formed my plan, and am deter- 
mined to enter on a course of serious study. Our own library 
is too well known to me, to be resorted to for anything beyond 
mere amusement. But there are many works well worth 
reading at the Park ; and there are others of more modern 
production, which I know I can borrow of Colonel Brandon. 
By reading only six hours a day, I shall gain in the course of 
a twelvemonth a great deal of instruction which I now feel 
myself to want.' 

Elinor honoured her for a plan which originated so nobly 
as this ; though smiling to see the same eager fancy which 
had been leading her to the extreme of languid indolence and 
selfish repining now at work in introducing excess into a 
scheme of such rational employment and virtuous self-control. 
Her smile, however, changed to a sigh when she remembered 
that her promise to Willoughby was yet unfulfilled, and feared 
she had that to communicate which might again unsettle the 
mind of Marianne, and ruin, at least for a time, this fair 
prospect of busy tranquillity. Willing therefore to delay the 
evil hour, she resolved to wait till her sister's health were more 




' And see how the children go en.' 


secure, before she appointed it. But the resolution was made 
only to be broken. 

Marianne had been two or three days at home before the 
weather was fine enough for an invalid like herself to venture 
out. But at last a soft, genial morning appeared, such as 
might tempt the daughter's wishes and the mother's con- 
fidence ; and Marianne, leaning on Elinor's arm, was author- 
ised to walk as long as she could without fatigue, in the lane 
before the house. 

The sisters set out at a pace, slow as the feebleness of 
Marianne in an exercise hitherto untried since her illness 
required ; and they had advanced only so far beyond the 
house as to admit a full view of the hill, the important hill 
behind, when, pausing with her eyes turned towards it, 
Marianne calmly said — 

c There, exactly there,' pointing with one hand, ' on that pro- 
jecting mound, there I fell; and there I first saw Willoughby.' 

Her voice sank with the word, but presently reviving she 
added — 

1 1 am thankful to find that I can look with so little pain 
on the spot ! Shall we ever talk on that subject, Elinor ? ' 
hesitatingly it was said. * Or will it be wrong ? I can talk 
of it now, I hope, as I ought to do.' 

Elinor tenderly invited her to be open. 

'As for regret,' said Marianne, 'I have done with that, as 
far as he is concerned. I do not mean to talk to you of what 
my feelings have been for him, but what they are now. At 
present, if I could be satisfied on one point, if I could be 
allowed to think that he was not always acting a part, not 
always deceiving me ; but above all, if I could be assured 
that he never was so very wicked as my fears have sometimes 
fancied him, since the story of that unfortunate girl ' 

She stopped. Elinor joyfully treasured her words as she 

* If you could be assured of that, you think you should 
be easy.' 

' Yes. My peace of mind is doubly involved in it ; for not 
only is it horrible to suspect a person, who has been what he 
has been to me, of such designs, but what must it make me 
appear to myself? What, in a situation like mine, but a most 
shamefully unguarded affection could expose me to 



1 How, then,' asked her sister, ' would you account for his 
behaviour ? ' 

' I would suppose him— oh, how gladly would I suppose 
him ! — only fickle, very, very fickle.' 

Elinor said no more. She was debating within herself on 
the eligibility of beginning her story directly, or postponing it 
till Marianne were in stronger health ; and they crept on for 
a few minutes in silence. 

i 1 am not wishing him too much good,' said Marianne at 
last, with a sigh, 'when I wish his secret reflections may be 
no more unpleasant than my own. He will suffer enough 
in them.' 

' Do you compare your conduct with his ?' 

1 No. I compare it with what it ought to have been ; I 
compare it with yours.' 

c Our situations have borne little resemblance.' 

'They have borne more than our conduct. Do not, my 
dearest Elinor, let your kindness defend what I know your 
judgment must censure. My illness has made me think. It 
has given me leisure and calmness for serious recollection. 
Long before I was enough recovered to talk, I was perfectly 
able to reflect. I considered the past ; I saw in my own 
behaviour, since the beginning of our acquaintance with him 
last autumn, nothing but a series of imprudence towards my- 
self, and want of kindness to others. I saw that my own 
feelings had prepared my sufferings, and that my want of 
fortitude under them had almost led me to the grave. My 
illness, I well knew, had been entirely brought on by myself 
by such negligence of my own health as I had felt, even at 
the time, to be wrong. Had I died, it would have been self- 
destruction. I did not know my danger till the danger was 
removed ; but with such feelings as these reflections gave me, 
I wonder at my recovery, — wonder that the very eagerness of 
my desire to live, to have time for atonement to my God, and 
to you all, did not kill me at once. Had I died, in what 
peculiar misery should I have left you, my nurse, my friend, 
my sister ! You, who had seen all the fretful selfishness of 
my latter days ; who had known all the murmurings of my 
heart ! How should I have lived in your remembrance ! My 
mother, too ! How could you have consoled her ! I cannot 
express my own abhorrence of myself. Whenever I looked 



towards the past, I saw some duty neglected, or some failing 
indulged. Everybody seemed injured by me. The kindness, 
the unceasing kindness, of Mrs. Jennings, I had repaid with 
ungrateful contempt. To the Middletons, the Palmers, the 
Steeles, to every common acquaintance even, I had been 
insolent and unjust ; with a heart hardened against their 
merits, and a temper irritated by their very attention. To 
John, to Fanny, yes, even to them, little as they deserve, I 
had given less than their due. But you, you above all, above 
my mother, had been wronged by me. I, and only I, knew 
your heart and its sorrows ; yet, to what did it influence me ? 
— not to any compassion that could benefit you or myself. 
Your example was before me ; but to what avail ? Was I 
more considerate of you and your comfort? Did I imitate 
your forbearance, or lessen your restraints by taking any part 
in those offices of general complaisance or particular gratitude 
which you had hitherto been left to discharge alone ? No ; 
not less when I knew you to be unhappy, than when I had 
believed you at ease, did I turn away from every exertion of 
duty or friendship ; scarcely allowing sorrow to exist but with 
me, regretting only that heart which had deserted and wronged 
me, and leaving you, for whom I professed an unbounded 
affection, to be miserable for my sake.' 

Here ceased the rapid flow of her self-reproving spirit ; and 
Elinor, impatient to soothe, though too honest to flatter, gave 
her instantly that praise and support which her frankness and 
her contrition so well deserved. Marianne pressed her hand 
and replied — 

'You are very good. The future must be my proof. I 
have laid down my plan, and if I am capable of adhering to it, 
my feelings shall be governed and my temper improved. 
They shall no longer worry others, nor torture myself. I shall 
now live solely for my family. You, my mother, and 
Margaret, must henceforth be all the world to me ; you will 
share my affections entirely between you. From you, from my 
home, I shall never have the smallest incitement to move ; and 
if I do mix in other society, it will be only to show that my 
spirit is humbled, my heart amended, and that I can practise 
the civilities, the lesser duties of life, with gentleness and for- 
bearance. As for Willoughby, to say that I shall soon, or that 
I shall ever forget him, would be idle. His remembrance can 



be overcome by no change of circumstances or opinions. But 
it shall be regulated, it shall be checked by religion, by reason, 
by constant employment. 5 

She paused — and added in a lower voice, * If I could but 
know Ms heart, everything would become easy.' 

Elinor, who had now been for some time reflecting on the 
propriety or impropriety of speedily hazarding her narration, 
without feeling at all nearer decision than at first, heard this ; 
and perceiving that as reflection did nothing resolution must 
do all, soon found herself leading to the fact. 

She managed the recital, as she hoped, with address ; 
prepared her anxious listener with caution ; related simply and 
honestly the chief points on which Willoughby grounded his 
apology ; did justice to his repentance, and softened only 
his protestations of present regard. Marianne said not a 
word. She trembled ; her eyes were fixed on the ground ; 
and her lips became whiter than even sickness had left them. 
A thousand inquiries sprang up from her heart, but she dared 
not urge one. She caught every syllable with panting eager- 
ness ; her hand, unknowingly to herself, closely pressed her 
sister's, and tears covered her cheeks. 

Elinor, dreading her being tired, led her towards home ; 
and till they reached the door of the cottage, easily conjectur- 
ing what her curiosity must be, though no question was 
suffered to speak it, talked of nothing but Willoughby, and 
their conversation together ; and was carefully minute in every 
particular of speech and look, where minuteness could be 
safely indulged. As soon as they entered the house, Marianne, 
with a kiss of gratitude, and these two words just articulate 
through her tears, ' Tell mamma/ withdrew from her sister, and 
walked slowly upstairs. Elinor would not attempt to disturb a 
solitude so reasonable as what she now sought ; and with a mind 
anxiously prearranging its result, and a resolution of reviving 
the subject again, should Marianne fail to do it, she turned 
into the parlour to fulfil her parting injunction. 




Mrs. Dashwood did not hear unmoved the vindication of 
her former favourite. She rejoiced in his being cleared from 
some part of his imputed guilt ; she was sorry for him ; she 
wished him happy. But the feelings of the past could not be 
recalled. Nothing could restore him with a faith unbroken, a 
character unblemished, to Marianne. Nothing could do away 
the knowledge of what the latter had suffered through his 
means, nor remove the guilt of his conduct towards Eliza. 
Nothing could replace him, therefore, in her former esteem, 
nor injure the interests of Colonel Brandon. 

Had Mrs. Dashwood, like her daughter, heard Willoughby's 
story from himself, — had she witnessed his distress, and been 
under the influence of his countenance and his manner, — it is 
probable that her compassion would have been greater. But 
it was neither in Elinor's power, nor in her wish, to rouse such 
feelings in another, by her retailed explanation, as had at first 
been called forth in herself. Reflection had given calmness to 
her judgment, and sobered her own opinion of Willoughby's 
deserts ; she wished, therefore, to declare only the simple truth, 
and lay open such facts as were really due to his character, 
without any embellishment of tenderness to lead the fancy astray. 

In the evening, when they were all three together, Marianne 
began voluntarily to speak of him again ; but that it was not 
without an effort, the restless, unquiet thoughtfulness in which 
she had been for some time previously sitting, her rising colour 
as she spoke, and her unsteady voice, plainly showed. 

' I wish to assure you both,' said she, ' that I see every- 
thing as you can desire me to do.' 

Mrs. Dashwood would have interrupted her instantly with 
soothing tenderness, had not Elinor, who really wished to hear 
her sister's unbiassed opinion, by an eager sign engaged her 
silence. Marianne slowly continued — 

'It is a great relief to me, what Elinor told me this morn- 
ing ; I have now heard exactly what I wished to hear.' For 
some moments her voice was lost ; but recovering herself, she 
added, and with greater calmness than before, — ' I am now 



perfectly satisfied, I wish for no change. I never could have 
been happy with him, after knowing, as sooner or later I must 
have known, all this. I should have had no confidence, no 
esteem. Nothing could have done it away to my feelings.' 

4 I know it, I know it,' cried her mother. * Happy with a 
man of libertine practices ! With one who had so injured the 
peace of the dearest of our friends, and the best of men ! No 
— my Marianne has not a heart to be made happy with such a 
man ! Her conscience, her sensitive conscience, would have 
felt all that the conscience of her husband ought to have felt.' 

Marianne sighed, and repeated, * I wish for no change.' 

1 You consider the matter,' said Elinor, * exactly as a good 
mind and a sound understanding must consider it ; and I 
daresay you perceive, as well as myself, not only in this, but 
in many other circumstances, reason enough to be convinced 
that your marriage must have involved you in many certain 
troubles and disappointments, in which you would have been 
poorly supported by an affection, on his side, much less certain. 
Had you married, you must have been always poor. His 
expensiveness is acknowledged even by himself; and his 
whole conduct declares that self-denial is a word hardly 
understood by him. His demands, and your inexperience 
together, on a small, very small income, must have brought on 
distresses which would not be the less grievous to you, from 
having been entirely unknown and unthought of before. 
Your sense of honour and honesty would have led you, I know, 
when aware of your situation, to attempt all the economy that 
would appear to you possible ; and, perhaps, as long as your 
frugality retrenched only on your own comfort, you might have 
been suffered to practise it, but beyond that — and how little 
could the utmost of your single management do to stop the 
ruin which had begun before your marriage ? beyond that, had 
you endeavoured, however reasonably, to abridge his enjoy- 
ments, is it not to be feared, that instead of prevailing on 
feelings so selfish to consent to it, you would have lessened 
your own influence on his heart, and made him regret the 
connection which had involved him in such difficulties ? ' 

Marianne's lips quivered, and she repeated the word 
1 Selfish ' ? in a tone that implied, ' Do you really think him 
selfish ? ' 

'The whole of his behaviour,' replied Elinor, 'from the 



beginning to the end of the affair, has been grounded on 
selfishness. It was selfishness which first made him sport 
with your affections ; which afterwards, when his own were 
engaged, made him delay the confession of it, and which 
finally carried him from Barton. His own enjoyment, or his 
own ease, was, in every particular, his ruling principle.' 
1 It is very true. My happiness never was his object.' 
' At present,' continued Elinor, 'he regrets what he has 
done. And why does he regret it ? Because he finds it has 
not answered towards himself. It has not made him happy. 
His circumstances are now unembarrassed — he suffers from no 
evil of that kind ; and he thinks only that he has married a 
woman of a less amiable temper than yourself. But does it 
thence follow that had he married you he would have been 
happy ? The inconveniences would have been different. He 
would then have suffered under the pecuniary distresses which, 
because they are removed, he now reckons as nothing. He 
would have had a wife of whose temper he could make no 
complaint, but he would have been always necessitous — always 
poor ; and probably would soon have learned to rank the in- 
numerable comforts of a clear estate and good income as of far 
more importance, even to domestic happiness, than the mere 
temper of a wife.' 

' I have not a doubt of it,' said Marianne ; i and I have 
nothing to regret — nothing but my own folly.' 

' Rather say your mother's imprudence, my child,' said Mrs. 
Dashwood ; « she must be answerable.' 

Marianne would not let her proceed ; and Elinor, satisfied 
that each felt her own error, wished to avoid any survey of 
the past that might weaken her sister's spirits ; she, therefore, 
pursuing the first subject, immediately continued — 

1 One observation may, I think, be fairly drawn from the 
whole of the story — that all Willoughby's difficulties have arisen 
from the first offence against virtue, in his behaviour to Eliza 
Williams. That crime has been the origin of every lesser one, 
and of all his present discontents.' 

Marianne assented most feelingly to the remark ; and her 
mother was led by it to an enumeration of Colonel Brandon's 
injuries and merits, warm as friendship and design could 
unitedly dictate. Her daughter did not look, however, as if 
much of it were heard by her. 



Elinor, according to her expectation, saw, on the two or 
three following days, that Marianne did not continue to gain 
strength as she had done ; but while her resolution was un- 
subdued, and she still tried to appear cheerful and easy, her 
sister could safely trust to the effect of time upon her health. 

Margaret returned, and the family were again all restored 
to each other, again quietly settled at the cottage ; and if not 
pursuing their usual studies with quite so much vigour as when 
they first came to Barton, at least planning a vigorous prosecu- 
tion of them in future. 

Elinor grew impatient for some tidings of Edward. She 
had heard nothing of him since her leaving London, nothing 
new of his plans, nothing certain even of his present abode. 
Some letters had passed between her and her brother, in con- 
sequence of Marianne's illness ; and in the first of John's there 
had been this sentence : — l We know nothing of our unfortunate 
Edward, and can make no inquiries on so prohibited a subject, 
but conclude him to be still at Oxford ' ; which was all the 
intelligence of Edward afforded her by the correspondence, for 
his name was not even mentioned in any of the succeeding 
letters. She was not doomed, however, to be long in ignorance 
of his measures. 

Their man-servant had been sent one morning to Exeter on 
business ; and when, as he waited at table, he had satisfied the 
inquiries of his mistress as to the event of his errand, this was 
his voluntary communication — 

* I suppose you know, ma'am, that Mr. Ferrars is married.' 

Marianne gave a violent start, fixed her eyes upon Elinor, 
saw her turning pale, and fell back in her chair in hysterics. 
Mrs. Dashwood, whose eyes, as she answered the servant's 
inquiry, had intuitively taken the same direction, was shocked 
to perceive, by Elinor's countenance, how much she really 
suffered ; and, in a moment afterwards, alike distressed by 
Marianne's situation, knew not on which child to bestow her 
principal attention. 

The servant, who saw only that Miss Marianne was taken 
ill, had sense enough to call one of the maids, who, with Mrs. 
Dashwood's assistance, supported her into the other room. By 
that time Marianne was rather better ; and her mother, leaving 
her to the care of Margaret and the maid, returned to Elinor, 
who, though still much disordered, had so far recovered the use 


' 1 suppose you know, tna'am^ that Mr. Ferrars is married.* 


of her reason and voice as to be just beginning an inquiry of 
Thomas, as to the source of his intelligence. Mrs. Dashwood 
immediately took all that trouble on herself; and Elinor had 
the benefit of the information without the exertion of seeking it. 

* Who told you that Mr. Ferrars was married, Thomas ? ' 

< I see Mr. Ferrars myself, ma'am, this morning in Exeter, 
and his lady too, Miss Steele as was. They was stopping in 
a chaise at the door of the New London Inn, as I went there 
with a message from Sally at the Park to her brother, who is 
one of the post-boys. I happened to look up as I went by the 
chaise, and so I see directly it was the youngest Miss Steele ; 
so I took off my hat, and she knew me and called to me, and 
inquired after you, ma'am, and the young ladies, especially 
Miss Marianne, and bid me I should give her compliments 
and Mr. Ferrars's, their best compliments and service, and 
how sorry they was they had not time to come on and see you ; 
but they was in a great hurry to go forwards, for they was 
going farther down for a little while, but however, when they 
come back, they'd make sure to come and see you.' 

c But did she tell you she was married, Thomas ? ' 

1 Yes, ma'am. She smiled, and said how she had changed 
her name since she was in these parts. She was always a very 
affable and free-spoken young lady, and very civil behaved. 
So, I made free to wish her joy.' 

' Was Mr. Ferrars in the carriage with her ? ' 

' Yes, ma'am, I just see him leaning back in it, but he did 
not look up ; he never was a gentleman much for talking.' 

Elinor's heart could easily account for his not putting him- 
self forward ; and Mrs. Dashwood probably found the same 

' Was there no one else in the carriage ? ' 

1 No, ma'am, only they two.' 

* Do you know where they came from ? ' 

'They come straight from town, as Miss Lucy — Mrs. 
Ferrars told me.' 

' And are going farther westward ? ' 

1 Yes, ma'am — but not to bide long. They will soon be 
back again, and then they'd be sure and call here.' 

Mrs. Dashwood now looked at her daughter; but Elinor 
knew better than to expect them. She recognised the whole 
of Lucy in the message, and was very confident that Edward 



would never come near them. She observed in a low voice, 
to her mother, that they were probably going down to Mr. 
Pratt's, near Plymouth. 

Thomas's intelligence seemed over. Elinor looked as if she 
wished to hear more. 

< Did you see them off, before you came away ?' 

6 No, ma'am — the horses was just coming out, but I could 
not bide any longer ; I was afraid of being late.' 

< Did Mrs. Ferrars look well ? ' 

< Yes, ma'am, she said how she was very well ; and to my 
mind she was always a very handsome young lady— and she 
seemed vastly contented.' 

Mrs. Dashwood could think of no other question; and 
Thomas and the table-cloth, now alike needless, were soon 
afterwards dismissed. Marianne had already sent to say that 
she should eat nothing more. Mrs. Dashwood's and Elinor's 
appetites were equally lost ; and Margaret might think herself 
very well off that, with so much uneasiness as both her sisters 
had lately experienced, so much reason as they had often had 
to be careless of their meals, she had never been obliged to 
go without her dinner before. 

When the dessert and the wine were arranged, and Mrs. 
Dashwood and Elinor were left by themselves, they remained 
long together in a similarity of thoughtfulness and silence. 
Mrs. Dashwood feared to hazard any remark, and ventured not 
to offer consolation. She now found that she had erred in rely- 
ing on Elinor's representation of herself; and justly concluded 
that everything had been expressly softened at the time, to 
spare her from an increase of unhappiness, suffering as she then 
had suffered for Marianne. She found that she had been mis- 
led by the careful, the considerate attention of her daughter, to 
think the attachment, which once she had so well understood, 
much slighter in reality than she had been wont to believe, or 
than it was now proved to be. She feared that under this 
persuasion she had been unjust, inattentive, nay, almost unkind, 
to her Elinor ; that Marianne's affliction, because more acknow- 
ledged, more immediately before her, had too much engrossed 
her tenderness, and led her away to forget that in Elinor she 
might have a daughter suffering almost as much, certainly with 
less self-provocation and greater fortitude. 

3 T 9 



Elinor now found the difference between the expectation of 
an unpleasant event, however certain the mind may be told to 
consider it, and certainty itself. She now found that, in spite 
of herself, she had always admitted a hope, while Edward 
remained single, that something would occur to prevent his 
marrying Lucy ; that some resolution of his own, some 
mediation of friends, or some more eligible opportunity of 
establishment for the lady, would arise to assist the happiness 
of all. But he was now married ; and she condemned her 
heart for the lurking flattery which so much heightened the 
pain of the intelligence. 

That he should be married so soon, before (as she 
imagined) he could be in orders, and consequently before he 
could be in possession of the living, surprised her a little at 
first ; but she soon saw how likely it was that Lucy, in her 
self-provident care, in her haste to secure him, should overlook 
everything but the risk of delay. They were married, — 
married in town, — and now hastening down to her uncle's. 
What had Edward felt on being within four miles of Barton, — 
on seeing her mothers servant, — on hearing Lucy's message ! 

They would soon, she supposed, be settled at Delaford ; — 
Delaford, — that place in which so much conspired to give her 
an interest ; which she wished to be acquainted with, and yet 
desired to avoid. She saw them in an instant in their 
parsonage-house; saw in Lucy the active, contriving manager; 
uniting at once a desire of smart appearance with the utmost 
frugality, and ashamed to be suspected of half her economical 
practices ; pursuing her own interest in every thought ; courting 
the favour of Colonel Brandon, of Mrs. Jennings, and of every 
wealthy friend. In Edward, she knew not what she saw, nor 
what she wished to see. Happy or unhappy, nothing pleased 
her ; she turned away her head from every sketch of him. 

Elinor flattered herself that some one of their connections 
in London would write to them to announce the event, and 
give further particulars ; but day after day passed off, and 
brought no letter, no tidings. Though uncertain that anyone 



were to blame, she found fault with every absent friend. They 
were all thoughtless or indolent. 

' When do you write to Colonel Brandon, ma'am ? ' was an 
inquiry which sprang from the impatience of her mind to have 
something going on. 

1 1 wrote to him, my love, last week, and rather expect to 
see than to hear from him again. I earnestly pressed his 
coming to us, and should not be surprised to see him walk in 
to-day, or to-morrow, or any day.' 

This was gaining something, — something to look forward 
to. Colonel Brandon must have some information to give. 

Scarcely had she so determined it, when the figure of a 
man on horseback drew her eyes to the window. He stopped 
at their gate. It was a gentleman, — it was Colonel Brandon 
himself. Now she should hear more, and she trembled in 
expectation of it. But it was not Colonel Brandon ; neither 
his air, nor his height. Were it possible, she should say it 
must be Edward. She looked again. He had just dis- 
mounted ; she could not be mistaken, — it was Edward. She 
moved away, and sat down. * He comes from Mr. Pratt's pur- 
posely to see us. I will be calm, — I will be mistress of myself.' 

In a moment she perceived that the others were likewise 
aware of the mistake. She saw her mother and Marianne 
change colour, — saw them look at herself, and whisper a few 
sentences to each other. She would have given the world to 
be able to speak, and to make them understand that she hoped 
no coolness, no slight, would appear in their behaviour to him ; 
but she had no utterance, and was obliged to leave all to their 
own discretion. 

Not a syllable passed aloud. They all waited in silence 
for the appearance of their visitor. His footsteps were heard 
along the gravel path ; in a moment he was in the passage, 
and in another he was before them. 

His countenance, as he entered the room, was not too 
happy, even for Elinor. His complexion was white with 
agitation ; and he looked as if fearful of his reception, and 
conscious that he merited no kind one. Mrs. Dashwood, 
however, conforming, as she trusted, to the wishes of that 
daughter, by whom she then meant, in the warmth of her 
heart, to be guided in everything, met him with a look of forced 
complacency, gave him her hand, and wished him joy. 
Y 321 

Jt was Edward* 


He coloured, and stammered out an unintelligible reply. 
Elinor's lips had moved with her mother's ; and, when the 
moment of action was over, she wished that she had shaken 
hands with him too. But it was then too late ; and, with a 
countenance meaning to be open, she sat down again, and 
talked of the weather. 

Marianne had retreated as much as possible out of sight, 
to conceal her distress ; and Margaret, understanding some 
part, but not the whole of the case, thought it incumbent on 
her to be dignified, and therefore took a seat as far from him 
as she could, and maintained a strict silence. 

When Elinor had ceased to rejoice in the dryness of the 
season, a very awful pause took place. It was put an end to 
by Mrs. Dashwood, who felt obliged to hope that he had left 
Mrs. Ferrars very well. In a hurried manner he replied in 
the affirmative. 

Another pause. 

Elinor, resolving to exert herself, though fearing the sound 
of her own voice, now said — 

' Is Mrs. Ferrars at Longstaple ? ' 

' At Longstaple ! ' he replied, with an air of surprise. « No ; 
my mother is in town.' 

1 1 meant,' said Elinor, taking up some work from the 
table, c to inquire after Mrs. Edward Ferrars.' 

She dared not look up ; but her mother and Marianne both 
turned their eyes on him. He coloured, seemed perplexed, 
looked doubtingly, and, after some hesitation, said — 

* Perhaps you mean my brother; you mean Mrs. — Mrs. 
Robert Ferrars.' 

1 Mrs. Robert Ferrars ! ' was repeated by Marianne and her 
mother in an accent of the utmost amazement ; and though 
Elinor could not speak, even her eyes were fixed on him with 
the same impatient wonder. He rose from his seat and 
walked to the window, apparently from not knowing what to 
do ; took up a pair of scissors that lay there ; and, while 
spoiling both them and their sheath by cutting the latter to 
pieces as he spoke, said, in a hurried voice — 

< Perhaps you do not know : you may not have heard that 
my brother is lately married to — to the youngest — to Miss 
Lucy Steele. 

His words were echoed with unspeakable astonishment by 
3 2 3 


all but Elinor, who sat, with her head leaning over her work, 
in a state of such agitation as made her hardly know where 
she was. 

' Yes,' said he ; * they were married last week, and are now 
at Dawlish.' 

Elinor could sit it no longer. She almost ran out of the 
room ; and, as soon as the door was closed, burst into tears of 
joy, which at first she thought would never cease. Edward, 
who had till then looked anywhere, rather than at her, saw her 
hurry away, and perhaps saw, or even heard, her emotion ; 
for immediately afterwards he fell into a reverie, which no 
remarks, no inquiries, no affectionate address of Mrs, Dashwood 
could penetrate ; and at last, without saying a word, quitted 
the room, and walked out towards the village, leaving the 
others in the greatest astonishment and perplexity on a change 
in his situation so wonderful and so sudden, — a perplexity 
which they had no means of lessening but by their own 


Unaccountable, however, as the circumstances of his release 
might appear to the whole family, it was certain that Edward 
was free ; and to what purpose that freedom would be employed 
was easily predetermined by all ; — for after experiencing the 
blessings of one imprudent engagement, contracted without 
his mother's consent, as he had already done for more than 
four years, nothing less could be expected of him in the failure 
of that, than the immediate contraction of another. 

His errand at Barton, in fact, was a simple one. It was 
only to ask Elinor to marry him ; and considering that he was 
not altogether inexperienced in such a question, it might be 
strange that he should feel so uncomfortable in the present 
case as he really did, so much in need of encouragement and 
fresh air. 

How soon he had walked himself into the proper resolution, 
however, how soon an opportunity of exercising it occurred, in 
what manner he expressed himself, and how he was received, 



need not be particularly told. This only need be said ; — that 
when they all sat down to table at four o'clock, about three 
hours after his arrival, he had secured his lady, engaged her 
mother's consent, and was not only in the rapturous profession 
of the lover, but, in the reality of reason and truth, one of the 
happiest of men. His situation indeed was more than com- 
monly joyful. He had more than the ordinary triumph of 
accepted love to swell his heart and raise his spirits. He was 
released, without any reproach to himself, from an entanglement 
which had long formed his misery, from a woman whom he 
had long ceased to love ; and elevated at once to that security 
with another, which he must have thought of almost with 
despair, as soon as he had learned to consider it with desire. 
He was brought, not from doubt or suspense, but from misery 
to happiness ; and the change was openly spoken in such a 
genuine, flowing, grateful cheerfulness, as his friends had never 
witnessed in him before. 

His heart was now open to Elinor ; all its weaknesses, all 
its errors confessed, and his first boyish attachment to Lucy 
treated with all the philosophic dignity of twenty-four. 

* It was a foolish, idle inclination on my side,' said he, * the 
consequence of ignorance of the world and want of employ- 
ment. Had my mother given me some active profession when 
I was removed at eighteen from the care of Mr. Pratt, I think, 
nay, I am sure, it would never have happened ; for though I 
left Longstaple with what I thought, at the time, a most un- 
conquerable preference for his niece, yet, had I then had any 
pursuit, any object, to engage my time and keep me at a dis- 
tance from her for a few months, I should very soon have 
outgrown the fancied attachment, especially by mixing more 
with the world, as in such a case I must have done. But 
instead of having anything to do, instead of having any pro- 
fession chosen for me, or being allowed to choose any myself, 
I returned home to be completely idle ; and for the first twelve- 
month afterwards I had not even the nominal employment 
which belonging to the University would have given me, for I 
was not entered at Oxford till I was nineteen. I had therefore 
nothing in the world to do, but to fancy myself in love ; and 
as my mother did not make my home in every respect comfort- 
able, as I had no friend, no companion in my brother, and 
disliked new acquaintance, it was not unnatural for me to be 



very often at Longstaple, where I always felt myself at home, 
and was always sure of a welcome ; and accordingly I spent 
the greatest part of my time there from eighteen to nineteen : 
Lucy appeared everything that was amiable and obliging. She 
was pretty too — at least I thought so then; and I had seen so 
little of other women, that I could make no comparisons, and 
see no defects. Considering everything, therefore, I hope, 
foolish as our engagement was, foolish as it has since in every 
way been proved, it was not at the time an unnatural or an 
inexcusable piece of folly.' 

The change which a few hours had wrought in the minds 
and the happiness of the Dash woods was such — so great — 
as promised them all the satisfaction of a sleepless night. Mrs. 
Dashwood, too happy to be comfortable, knew not how to 
love Edward nor praise Elinor enough, how to be enough 
thankful for his release without wounding his delicacy, nor 
how at once to give them leisure for unrestrained conversation 
together, and yet enjoy, as she wished, the sight and society 
of both. 

Marianne could speak her happiness only by tears. Com- 
parisons would occur — regrets would arise ; and her joy, though 
sincere as her love for her sister, was of a kind to give her 
neither spirits nor language. 

But Elinor — how are her feelings to be described ? From 
the moment of learning that Lucy was married to another, 
that Edward was free, to the moment of his justifying the hopes 
which had so instantly followed, she was everything by turns 
but tranquil. But when the second moment had passed, when 
she found every doubt, every solicitude removed, compared 
her situation with what so lately it had been, — saw him honour- 
ably released from his former engagement, — saw him instantly 
profiting by the release, to address herself and declare an affec- 
tion as tender, as constant as she had ever supposed it to be, — 
she was oppressed, she was overcome by her own felicity ; and 
happily disposed as is the human mind to be easily familiarised 
with any change for the better, it required several hours to 
give sedateness to her spirits, or any degree of tranquillity to 
her heart. 

Edward was now fixed at the cottage at least for a week ; 
for whatever other claims might be made on him, it was im- 
possible that less than a week should be given up to the 



enjoyment of Elinor's company, or suffice to say half that was 
to be said of the past, the present, and the future ; for though 
a very few hours spent in the hard labour of incessant talking 
will despatch more subjects than can really be in common 
between any two rational creatures, yet with lovers it is dif- 
ferent. Between them no subject is finished, no communica- 
tion is even made, till it has been made at least twenty times 

Lucy's marriage, the unceasing and reasonable wonder 
among them all, formed of course one of the earliest discus- 
sions of the lovers ; and Elinor's particular knowledge of each 
party made it appear to her, in every view, as one of the most 
extraordinary and unaccountable circumstances she had ever 
heard. How they could be thrown together, and by what 
attraction Robert could be drawn on to marry a girl, of whose 
beauty she had herself heard him speak without any admiration, 
— a girl, too, already engaged to his brother, and on whose 
account that brother had been thrown off by his family, — it 
was beyond her comprehension to make out. To her own 
heart it was a delightful affair, to her imagination it was even 
a ridiculous one, but to her reason, her judgment, it was com- 
pletely a puzzle. 

Edward could only attempt an explanation by supposing 
that, perhaps, at first accidentally meeting, the vanity of the 
one had been so worked on by the flattery of the other, as to 
lead by degrees to all the rest. Elinor remembered what 
Robert had told her in Harley Street, of his opinion of what 
his own mediation in his brother's affairs might have done, if 
applied to in time. She repeated it to Edward. 

1 That was exactly like Robert,' was his immediate observa- 
tion. * And that} he presently added, i might perhaps be in 
his head when the acquaintance between them first began. 
And Lucy, perhaps, at first might think only of procuring his 
good offices in my favour. Other designs might afterwards 

How long it had been carrying on between them, however, 
he was equally at a loss with herself to make out ; for at 
Oxford, where he had remained by choice ever since his 
quitting London, he had had no means of hearing of her but 
from herself, and her letters to the very last were neither less 
frequent nor less affectionate than usual. Not the smallest 



suspicion, therefore, had ever occurred to prepare him for 
what followed ; and when at last it burst on him in a letter 
from Lucy herself, he had been for some time, he believed, 
half stupefied between the wonder, the horror, and the joy 
of such a deliverance. He put the letter into Elinor's hands. 

* Dear Sir — Being very sure I have long lost your affections, 
I have thought myself at liberty to bestow my own on another, 
and have no doubt of being as happy with him as I once used 
to think I might be with you ; but I scorn to accept a hand 
while the heart was another's. Sincerely wish you happy in 
your choice, and it shall not be my fault if we are not always 
good friends, as our near relationship now makes proper. I 
can safely say I owe you no ill-will, and am sure you will be 
too generous to do us any ill offices. Your brother has gained 
my affections entirely ; and as we could not live without one 
another, we are just returned from the altar, and are now on 
our way to Dawlish for a few weeks ; which place your dear 
brother has great curiosity to see, but thought I would first 
trouble you with these few lines, and shall always remain, — 
Your sincere well-wisher, friend, and sister, 

( Lucy Ferrars.' 

* I have burnt all your letters, and will return your picture 
the first opportunity. Please to destroy my scrawls — but the 
ring with my hair you are very welcome to keep.' 

Elinor read and returned it without any comment. 

* I will not ask your opinion of it as a composition,' said 
Edward. ' For worlds would not I have had a letter of hers 
seen by you in former days. In a sister it is bad enough, but in 
a wife ! how I have blushed over the pages of her writing ! and 
I believe I may say that since the first half-year of our foolish 
business this is the only letter I ever received from her, of which 
the substance made me any amends for the defect of the style.' 

* However it may have come about,' said Elinor, after a 
pause, 'they are certainly married; and your mother has 
brought on herself a most appropriate punishment. The 
independence she settled on Robert, through resentment 
against you, has put it in his power to make his own choice ; 
and she has actually been bribing one son with a thousand a 



year to do the very deed which she disinherited the other for 
intending to do. She will hardly be less hurt, I suppose, by 
Robert's marrying Lucy, than she would have been by your 
marrying her.' 

< She will be more hurt by it, for Robert always was her 
favourite. She will be more hurt by it, and on the same 
principle will forgive him much sooner.' 

In what state the affair stood at present between them 
Edward knew not, for no communication with any of his family 
had yet been attempted by him. He had quitted Oxford within 
four-and-twenty hours after Lucy's letter arrived, and with only 
one object before him, the nearest road to Barton, had had 
no leisure to form any scheme of conduct, with which that 
road did not hold the most intimate connection. He could do 
nothing till he were assured of his fate with Miss Dashwood ; 
and by his rapidity in seeking that fate, it is to be supposed, 
in spite of the jealousy with which he had once thought of 
Colonel Brandon, in spite of the modesty with which he rated 
his own deserts, and the politeness with which he talked of his 
doubts, he did not, upon the whole, expect a very cruel re- 
ception. It was his business, however, to say that he did, and 
he said it very prettily. What he might say on the subject a 
twelvemonth after must be referred to the imagination of 
husbands and wives. 

That Lucy had certainly meant to deceive, to go off with a 
flourish of malice against him in her message by Thomas, was 
perfectly clear to Elinor ; and Edward himself, now thoroughly 
enlightened on her character, had no scruple in believing her 
capable of the utmost meanness of wanton ill-nature. Though 
his eyes had been long opened, even before his acquaintance 
with Elinor began, to her ignorance and a want of liberality in 
some of her opinions, they had been equally imputed, by him, 
to her want of education ; and till her last letter reached him, 
he had always believed her to be a well-disposed, good- 
hearted girl, and thoroughly attached to himself. Nothing 
but such a persuasion could have prevented his putting an end 
to an engagement, which, long before the discovery of it laid 
him open to his mother's anger, had been a continual source 
of disquiet and regret to him. 

1 1 thought it my duty,' said he, independent of my feelings, 
to give her the option of continuing the engagement or not, 

3 2 9 


when I was renounced by my mother, and stood to all appear- 
ance without a friend in the world to assist me. In such a 
situation as that, where there seemed nothing to tempt the 
avarice or the vanity of any living creature, how could I 
suppose, when she so earnestly, so warmly insisted on sharing 
my fate, whatever it might be, that anything but the most 
disinterested affection was her inducement ? And even now, 
I cannot comprehend on what motive she acted, or what 
fancied advantage it could be to her, to be fettered to a man 
for whom she had not the smallest regard, and who had only 
two thousand pounds in the world. She could not foresee 
that Colonel Brandon would give me a living.' 

I No ; but she might suppose that something would occur 
in your favour ; that your own family might in time relent. 
And at any rate, she lost nothing by continuing the engagement, 
for she has proved that it fettered neither her inclination nor 
her actions. The connection was certainly a respectable one, 
and probably gained her consideration among her friends ; 
and, if nothing more advantageous occurred, it would be better 
for her to marry you than be single.' 

Edward was, of course, immediately convinced that nothing 
could have been more natural than Lucy's conduct, nor more 
self-evident than the motive of it. 

Elinor scolded him, harshly as ladies always scold the 
imprudence which compliments themselves, for having spent 
so much time with them at Norland, when he must have felt 
his own inconstancy. 

'Your behaviour was certainly very wrong,' said she, 
'because, to say nothing of my own conviction, our relations 
were all led away by it to fancy and expect what, as you were 
then situated, could never be.' 

He could only plead an ignorance of his own heart, and a 
mistaken confidence in the force of his engagement. 

I I was simple enough to think, that because my faith was 
plighted to another, there could be no danger in my being 
with you ; and that the consciousness of my engagement was 
to keep my heart as safe and sacred as my honour. I felt 
that I admired you, but I told myself it was only friendship ; 
and till I began to make comparisons between yourself and 
Lucy, I did not know how far I was got. After that, I 
suppose, I was wrong in remaining so much in Sussex ; and 



the arguments with which I reconciled myself to the expediency 
of it were no better than these : — The danger is my own ; I 
am doing no injury to anybody but myself.' 

Elinor smiled and shook her head. 

Edward heard with pleasure of Colonel Brandon's being 
expected at the cottage, as he really wished, not only to be 
better acquainted with him, but to have an opportunity of 
convincing him that he no longer resented his giving him the 
living of Delaford. * Which at present,' said he, 'after thanks 
so ungraciously delivered as mine were on the occasion, he 
must think I have never forgiven him for offering.' 

Now he felt astonished himself that he had never yet been 
to the place. But so little interest had he taken in the matter, 
that he owed all his knowledge of the house, garden, and 
glebe, extent of the parish, condition of the land, and rate of 
the tithes, to Elinor herself, who had heard so much of it from 
Colonel Brandon, and heard it with so much attention, as to 
be entirely mistress of the subject. 

One question after this only remained undecided between 
them ; one difficulty only was to be overcome. They were 
brought together by mutual affection, with the warmest appro- 
bation of their real friends ; their intimate knowledge of each 
other seemed to make their happiness certain, and they only 
wanted something to live upon. Edward had two thousand 
pounds, and Elinor one, which, with Delaford living, was all 
that they could call their own ; for it was impossible that Mrs. 
Dashwood should advance anything ; and they were neither 
of them quite enough in love to think that three hundred and 
fifty pounds a year would supply them with the comforts of 

Edward was not entirely without hopes of some favourable 
change in his mother towards him ; and on that he rested for 
the residue of their income. But Elinor had no such depend- 
ence ; for, since Edward would still be unable to marry Miss 
Morton, and his choosing herself had been spoken of in Mrs. 
Ferrars's flattering language as only a lesser evil than his 
choosing Lucy Steele, she feared that Robert's offence would 
serve no other purpose than to enrich Fanny. 

About four days after Edward's arrival Colonel Brandon 
appeared, to complete Mrs. Dashwood's satisfaction, and to 
give her the dignity of having, for the first time since her 



living at Barton, more company with her than her house 
would hold. Edward was allowed to retain the privilege of 
first comer, and Colonel Brandon, therefore, walked every 
night to his old quarters at the Park ; from whence he usually 
returned in the morning, early enough to interrupt the lovers' 
first t£te-a-t£te before breakfast. 

A three weeks' residence at Delaford, where, in his evening 
hours at least, he had little to do but to calculate the dispro- 
portion between thirty-six and seventeen, brought him to 
Barton in a temper of mind which needed all the improvement 
in Marianne's looks, all the kindness of her welcome, and all 
the encouragement of her mother's language, to make it cheer- 
ful. Among such friends, however, and such flattery, he did 
revive. No rumour of Lucy's marriage had yet reached him ; 
he knew nothing of what had passed ; and the first hours of 
his visit were consequently spent in hearing and in wondering. 
Everything was explained to him by Mrs. Dashwood ; and he 
found fresh reason to rejoice in what he had done for Mr. 
Ferrars, since eventually it promoted the interest of Elinor. 

It would be needless to say that the gentlemen advanced 
in the good opinion of each other as they advanced in each 
other's acquaintance, for it could not be otherwise. Their 
resemblance in good principles and good sense, in disposition 
and manner of thinking, would probably have been sufficient 
to unite them in friendship, without any other attraction ; but 
their being in love with two sisters, and two sisters fond of 
each other, made that mutual regard inevitable and immediate, 
which might otherwise have waited the effect of time and 

The letters from town, which a few days before would have 
made every nerve in Elinor's body thrill with transport, now 
arrived to be read with less emotion than mirth. Mrs. 
Jennings wrote to tell the wonderful tale, to vent her honest 
indignation against the jilting girl, and pour forth her com- 
passion towards poor Mr. Edward, who, she was sure, had 
quite doted upon the worthless hussy, and was now, by all 
accounts, almost broken-hearted, at Oxford. ' I do think,' she 
continued, l nothing was ever carried on so sly ; for it was but 
two days before Lucy called and sat a couple of hours with 
me. Not a soul suspected anything of the matter, not even 
Nancy, who, poor soul ! came crying to me the day after, in a 



great fright for fear of Mrs. Ferrars, as well as not knowing 
how to get to Plymouth ; for Lucy, it seems, borrowed all her 
money before she went off to be married, on purpose, we 
suppose, to make a show with, and poor Nancy had not seven 
shillings in the world ; so I was very glad to give her five 
guineas to take her down to Exeter, where she thinks of staying 
three or four weeks with Mrs. Burgess, in hopes, as I tell her, 
to fall in with the Doctor again. And I must say that Lucy's 
crossness not to take her along with them in the chaise is 
worse than all. Poor Mr. Edward I I cannot get him out of 
my head, but you must send for him to Barton, and Miss 
Marianne must try to comfort him.' 

Mr. Dashwood's strains were more solemn. Mrs. Ferrars 
was the most unfortunate of women — poor Fanny had suffered 
agonies of sensibility — and he considered the existence of 
each, under such a blow, with grateful wonder. Robert's 
offence was unpardonable, but Lucy's was infinitely worse. 
Neither of them was ever again to be mentioned to Mrs. 
Ferrars ; and even if she might hereafter be induced to for- 
give her son, his wife should never be acknowledged as her 
daughter, nor be permitted to appear in her presence. The 
secrecy with which everything had been carried on between 
them was rationally treated as enormously heightening the 
crime, because, had any suspicion of it occurred to the others, 
proper measures would have been taken to prevent the 
marriage ; and he called on Elinor to join with him in regret- 
ting that Lucy's engagement with Edward had not rather been 
fulfilled, than that she should thus be the means of spreading 
misery further in the family. He thus continued : — 

* Mrs. Ferrars has never yet mentioned Edward's name, 
which does not surprise us ; but, to our great astonishment, 
not a line has been received from him on the occasion. 
Perhaps, however, he is kept silent by his fear of offending ; 
and I shall, therefore, give him a hint, by a line to Oxford, 
that his sister and I both think a letter of proper submission 
from him, addressed perhaps to Fanny, and by her shown to 
her mother, might not be taken amiss ; for we all know the 
tenderness of Mrs. Ferrars's heart, and that she wishes for 
nothing so much as to be on good terms with her children.' 

This paragraph was of some importance to the prospects 
and conduct of Edward. It determined him to attempt a 



reconciliation, though not exactly in the manner pointed out 
by their brother and sister. 

1 A letter of proper submission ! ' repeated he ; ' would they 
have me beg my mother's pardon for Robert's ingratitude to 
her^ and breach of honour to me ? I can make no submission. 
I am grown neither humble nor penitent by what has passed. 
I am grown very happy ; but that would not interest. I know 
of no submission that is proper for me to make.' 

1 You may certainly ask to be forgiven,' said Elinor, 

* because you have offended ! and I should think you might 
now venture so far as to profess some concern for having ever 
formed the engagement which drew on you your mother's 

He agreed that he might. 

* And when she has forgiven you, perhaps a little humility 
may be convenient while acknowledging a second engagement, 
almost as imprudent in her eyes as the first.' 

He had nothing to urge against it, but still resisted the idea 
of a letter of proper submission ; and, therefore, to make it 
easier to him, as he declared a much greater willingness to 
make mean concessions by word of mouth than on paper, it 
was resolved that, instead of writing to Fanny, he should go to 
London, and personally entreat her good offices in his favour. 

* And if they really do interest themselves,' said Marianne, in 
her new character of candour, ' in bringing about a reconcilia- 
tion, I shall think that even John and Fanny are not entirely 
without merit.' 

After a visit on Colonel Brandon's side of only three or 
four days, the two gentlemen quitted Barton together. They 
were to go immediately to Delaford, that Edward might have 
some personal knowledge of his future home, and assist his 
patron and friend in deciding on what improvements were 
needed to it ; and from thence, after staying there a couple of 
nights, he was to proceed on his journey to town. 




After a proper resistance on the part of Mrs. Ferrars, just so 
violent and so steady as to preserve her from that reproach 
which she always seemed fearful of incurring, the reproach of 
being too amiable, Edward was admitted to her presence and 
pronounced to be again her son. 

Her family had of late been exceedingly fluctuating. For 
many years of her life she had had two sons ; but the crime 
and annihilation of Edward, a few weeks ago, had robbed her 
of one ; the similar annihilation of Robert had left her for a 
fortnight without any ; and now, by the resuscitation of Edward, 
she had one again. 

In spite of his being allowed once more to live, however, he 
did not feel the continuance of his existence secure till he had 
revealed his present engagement ; for the publication of that 
circumstance, he feared, might give a sudden turn to his 
constitution, and carry him off as rapidly as before. With 
apprehensive caution, therefore, it was revealed ; and he was 
listened to with unexpected calmness. Mrs. Ferrars at first 
reasonably endeavoured to dissuade him from marrying Miss 
Dashwood, by every argument in her power ; told him, that in 
Miss Morton he would have a woman of higher rank and 
larger fortune ; and enforced the assertion by observing that 
Miss Morton was the daughter of a nobleman with thirty 
thousand pounds, while Miss Dashwood was only the daughter 
of a private gentleman with no more than three; but when she 
found that, though perfectly admitting the truth of her repre- 
sentation, he was by no means inclined to be guided by it, she 
judged it wisest, from the experience of the past, to submit ; 
and, therefore, after such an ungracious delay as she owed to 
her own dignity, and as served to prevent every suspicion of 
goodwill, she issued her decree of consent to the marriage of 
Edward and Elinor. 

What she would engage to do towards augmenting their 
income was next to be considered ; and here it plainly 
appeared, that though Edward was now her only son, he was 
by no means her eldest ; for while Robert was inevitably 



endowed with a thousand pounds a year, not the smallest 
objection was made against Edward's taking orders for the 
sake of two hundred and fifty at the utmost ; nor was anything 
promised either for the present or in future, beyond the ten 
thousand pounds which had been given with Fanny. 

It was as much, however, as was desired, and more than 
was expected, by Edward and Elinor ; and Mrs. Ferrars 
herself, by her shuffling excuses, seemed the only person 
surprised at her not giving more. 

With an income quite sufficient to their wants thus secured 
to them, they had nothing to wait for after Edward was in 
possession of the living but the readiness of the house, to 
which Colonel Brandon, with an eager desire for the accom- 
modation of Elinor, was making considerable improvements ; 
and after waiting some time for their completion, — after ex- 
periencing, as usual, a thousand disappointments and delays, 
from the unaccountable dilatoriness of the workmen, — Elinor, 
as usual, broke through the first positive resolution, of not 
marrying till everything was ready ; and the ceremony took 
place in Barton church early in the autumn. 

The first month after their marriage was spent with their 
friend at the mansion-house ; from whence they could super- 
intend the progress of the parsonage, and direct everything as 
they liked on the spot ; could choose papers, project shrubberies, 
and invent a sweep. Mrs. Jennings's prophecies, though 
rather jumbled together, were chiefly fulfilled ; for she was able 
to visit Edward and his wife in their parsonage by Michaelmas ; 
and she found in Elinor and her husband, as she really 
believed, one of the happiest couples in the world. They had, 
in fact, nothing to wish for, but the marriage of Colonel 
Brandon and Marianne, and rather better pasturage for their 

They were visited on their first settling by almost all their 
relations and friends. Mrs. Ferrars came to inspect the 
happiness which she was almost ashamed of having authorised ; 
and even the Dashwoods were at the expense of a journey from 
Sussex to do them honour. 

' I will not say that I am disappointed, my dear sister,' said 
John, as they were walking together one morning before the 
gates of Delaford House, * that would be saying too much ; for 
certainly you have been one of the most fortunate young 

33 6 


women in the world, as it is. But, I confess, it would give 
me great pleasure to call Colonel Brandon brother. His 
property here, his place, his house, — everything in such 
respectable and excellent condition ! And his woods, — I have 
not seen such timber anywhere in Dorsetshire as there is now 
standing in Delaford Hanger ! And though, perhaps, Mari- 
anne may not seem exactly the person to attract him, yet I 
think it would altogether be advisable for you to have them 
now frequently staying with you ; for as Colonel Brandon 
seems a great deal at home, nobody can tell what may happen ; 
for, when people are much thrown together, and see little of 
anybody else, — and it will always be in your power to set her off 
to advantage, and so forth. In short, you may as well give 
her a chance ; you understand me.' 

But though Mrs. Ferrars did come to see them, and always 
treated them with the make-believe of decent affection, they 
were never insulted by her real favour and preference. That 
was due to the folly of Robert, and the cunning of his wife ; 
and it was earned by them before many months had passed 
away. The selfish sagacity of the latter, which had at first 
drawn Robert into the scrape, was the principal instrument of 
his deliverance from it ; for her respectful humility, assiduous 
attentions, and endless flatteries, as soon as the smallest opening 
was given for their exercise, reconciled Mrs. Ferrars to his 
choice, and re-established him completely in her favour. 

The whole of Lucy's behaviour in the affair, and the pros- 
perity which crowned it, therefore, may be held forth as a most 
encouraging instance of what an earnest, an unceasing attention 
to self-interest, however its progress may be apparently ob- 
structed, will do in securing every advantage of fortune, with 
no other sacrifice than that of time and conscience. When 
Robert first sought her acquaintance, and privately visited her 
in Bartlett's Buildings, it was only with the view imputed 
to him by his brother. He merely meant to persuade her to 
give up the engagement; and as there could be nothing to 
overcome but the affection of both, he naturally expected that 
one or two interviews would settle the matter. In that point, 
however, and that only, he erred ; for though Lucy soon gave 
him hopes that his eloquence would convince her in time, 
another visit, another conversation, was always wanted to pro- 
duce this conviction. Some doubts always lingered in her 

2 337 

' Everything in such respectable condition. ' 


mind when they parted, which could only be removed by 
another half- hour's discourse with himself. His attendance 
was by this means secured, and the rest followed in course. 
Instead of talking of Edward, they came gradually to talk only 
of Robert, — a subject on which he had always more to say than 
on any other, and in which she soon betrayed an interest even 
equal to his own ; and, in short, it became speedily evident to 
both that he had entirely supplanted his brother. He was 
proud of his conquest, proud of tricking Edward, and very 
proud of marrying privately without his mother's consent. 
What immediately followed is known. They passed some 
months in great happiness at Dawlish ; for she had many rela- 
tions and old acquaintance to cut — and he drew several plans 
for magnificent cottages ; and from thence returning to town 
procured the forgiveness of Mrs. Ferrars, by the simple ex- 
pedient of asking it, which, at Lucy's instigation, was adopted. 
The forgiveness, at first, indeed, as was reasonable, com- 
prehended only Robert ; and Lucy, who had owed his mother 
no duty, and therefore could have transgressed none, still 
remained some weeks longer unpardoned. But perseverance 
in humility of conduct and messages, in self-condemnation for 
Robert's offence, and gratitude for the unkindness she was 
treated with, procured her in time the haughty notice which 
overcame her by its graciousness, and led soon afterwards, by 
rapid degrees, to the highest state of affection and influence. 
Lucy became as necessary to Mrs. Ferrars as either Robert or 
Fanny ; and while Edward was never cordially forgiven for 
having once intended to marry her, and Elinor, though superior 
to her in fortune and birth, was spoken of as an intruder, she 
was in everything considered, and always openly acknowledged, 
to be a favourite child. They settled in town, received very 
liberal assistance from Mrs. Ferrars, were on the best terms 
imaginable with the Dashwoods ; and, setting aside the 
jealousies and ill-will continually subsisting between Fanny and 
Lucy, in which their husbands of course took a part, as well as 
the frequent domestic disagreements between Robert and Lucy 
themselves, nothing could exceed the harmony in which they 
all lived together. 

What Edward had done to forfeit the right of eldest son 
might have puzzled many people to find out ; and what Robert 
had done to succeed to it might have puzzled them still more. 



It was an arrangement, however, justified in its effects, if not 
in its cause ; for nothing ever appeared in Robert's style of 
living or of talking to give a suspicion of his regretting the 
extent of his income, as either leaving his brother too little, or 
bringing himself too much ; and if Edward might be judged 
from the ready discharge of his duties in every particular, from 
an increasing attachment to his wife and his home, and from 
the regular cheerfulness of his spirits, he might be supposed no 
less contented with his lot, no less free from every wish of an 

Elinor's marriage divided her as little from her family as 
could well be contrived, without rendering the cottage at 
Barton entirely useless, for her mother and sisters spent much 
more than half their time with her. Mrs. Dashwood was act- 
ing on motives of policy as well as pleasure in the frequency of 
her visits at Delaford ; for her wish of bringing Marianne and 
Colonel Brandon together was hardly less earnest, though 
rather more liberal, than what John had expressed. It was 
now her darling object. Precious as was the company of her 
daughter to her, she desired nothing so much as to give up its 
constant enjoyment to her valued friend ; and to see Marianne 
settled at the mansion-house was equally the wish of Edward 
and Elinor. They each felt his sorrows, and their own obliga- 
tions, and Marianne, by general consent, was to be the reward 
of all. 

With such a confederacy against her — with a knowledge so 
intimate of his goodness — with a conviction of his fond attach- 
ment to herself, which at last, though long after it was observ- 
able to everybody else — burst on her — what could she do ? 

Marianne Dashwood was born to an extraordinary fate. 
She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, 
and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favourite maxims. 
She was born to overcome an affection formed so late in life 
as at seventeen, and with no sentiment superior to strong esteem 
and lively friendship, voluntarily to give her hand to another ! 
— and that other, a man who had suffered no less than herself 
under the event of a former attachment, whom, two years 
before, she had considered too old to be married, — and who 
still sought the constitutional safeguard of a flannel waistcoat ! 

But so it was. Instead of falling a sacrifice to an irre- 
sistible passion, as once she had fondly flattered herself with 



expecting, instead of remaining even for ever with her mother, 
and finding her only pleasures in retirement and study, as after- 
wards in her more calm and sober judgment she had deter- 
mined on, — she found herself at nineteen submitting to new 
attachments, entering on new duties, placed in a new home, a 
wife, the mistress of a family, and the patroness of a village. 

Colonel Brandon was now as happy as all those who best 
loved him believed he deserved to be ; in Marianne he was 
consoled for every past affliction ; her regard and her society 
restored his mind to animation, and his spirits to cheerfulness ; 
and that Marianne found her own happiness in forming his was 
equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend. 
Marianne could never love by halves ; and her whole heart 
became, in time, as much devoted to her husband as it had 
once been to Willoughby. 

Willoughby could not hear of her marriage without a pang ; 
and his punishment was soon afterwards complete, in the volun- 
tary forgiveness of Mrs. Smith, who, by stating his marriage 
with a woman of character as the source of her clemency, gave 
him reason for believing that had he behaved with honour 
towards Marianne he might at once have been happy and rich. 
That his repentance of misconduct, which thus brought its own 
punishment, was sincere, need not be doubted ; nor that he 
long thought of Colonel Brandon with envy, and of Marianne 
with regret. But that he was for ever inconsolable, that he 
fled from society, or contracted an habitual gloom of temper, 
or died of a broken heart, must not be depended on — for he 
did neither. He lived to exert, and frequently to enjoy himself. 
His wife was not always out of humour, nor his home always 
uncomfortable ; and in his breed of horses and dogs, and in 
sporting of every kind, he found no inconsiderable degree of 
domestic felicity. 

For Marianne, however, in spite of his incivility in surviv- 
ing her loss, he always retained that decided regard which 
interested him in everything that befell her, and made her his 
secret standard of perfection in woman ; and many a rising 
beauty would be slighted by him in after-days as bearing no 
comparison with Mrs. Brandon. 

Mrs. Dashwood was prudent enough to remain at the 
cottage without attempting a removal to Delaford ; and, fortu- 
nately for Sir John and Mrs. Jennings, when Marianne was 



taken from them, Margaret had reached an age highly suitable 
for dancing, and not very ineligible for being supposed to have 
a lover. 

Between Barton and Delaford there was that constant com- 
munication which strong family affection would naturally dic- 
tate ; and among the merits and the happiness of Elinor and 
Marianne, let it not be ranked as the least considerable, that, 
though sisters, and living almost within sight of each other, 
they could live without disagreement between themselves, or 
producing coolness between their husbands. 


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